Health is like a pizza.
We know that sounds weird – stick with us.
A pizza needs the right balance of ingredients to become a satisfying pie. You require the same balance of physical health, mental clarity, emotional stability, and social connection. So, if you want to truly enjoy a well-rounded wellness pie, you’ve got to make sure you’re not neglecting any of those key ingredients.
According to the World Health Organization, health can be defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Emotional wellness is a critical component of health. It often underlies the decisions we make and the relationships we build. As advocates for health, Occupational Therapists are uniquely trained to promote emotional wellness. Read on to learn more about emotional wellness and learn tips from an OT to nurture it.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapists evaluate a person’s psychological, physical, emotional, and social makeup to determine how the body and mind are impacting performance. They then use meaningful activities to help people accomplish the tasks that are most important to them.
Can Emotions Impact Health?
Yes – our emotions certainly impact our bodies! It’s like cheese on pizza -an important ingredient holding the toppings together- or in the case of your health, a vital component for participation in your daily life.
Many of us – 55% to be exact – are stressed. Taking care of our emotional well-being often falls by the wayside as we prioritize other things, but stress has been associated with serious health concerns, including:
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk of obesity and diabetes
- Increased alcohol and drug use
Emotional wellness can also affect a person’s ability to engage in daily activities, achieve their goals, and participate in meaningful occupations. Emotional well-being influences a person’s ability to form and maintain relationships, cope with stress, and manage their emotions.
A Holistic Approach to Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists are trained to evaluate patients holistically – that is, they treat the entire person rather than focusing on a specific symptom or group of symptoms. Occupational therapists work with clients to help them develop emotional regulation skills, which can help them better manage their emotions and cope with the stresses of daily life.
Tips From an Occupational Therapist to Promote Emotional Wellness
- Breathing Techniques: Taking deep, slow breaths and focusing on your breath can help calm your body and reduce stress. There are a variety of methods to choose from. Here is a video to get you started:
- Visualization or Guided Imagery: Visualization or guided imagery involves using your mind to create a mental image of a peaceful place. This technique can help reduce anxiety and stress by creating a sense of calmness and relaxation. Guided imagery can be facilitated by a therapist or can be practiced on your own with the help of audio recordings. Here is an example of a guided imagery meditation:
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in your body, one at a time, to help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation. Follow along with video to try it out:
- Participation in Meaningful Occupation: Participation in meaningful occupation refers to engaging in activities that are personally meaningful and fulfilling. They can include activities such as hobbies, volunteering, or spending time with loved ones. Engaging in meaningful activities can help reduce stress and promote a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
- Stretching and Yoga: Stretching and yoga are excellent techniques for relaxation, as they help to release tension in the body and promote a sense of calm and well-being. Practicing yoga regularly has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and can also improve sleep quality and overall physical health. Focusing on the breath and being present in the moment, can quiet the mind and promote a sense of inner peace. Here is an example of a quick full-body stretching routine:
Occupational Therapy at PTS
Your friendly neighborhood occupational therapists are ready to help you address all the different slices of your wellness pie (and we don’t judge if you like pineapple on your pizza).
Here at Professional Therapy Services, our OTs are ready to help you improve your participation, successfully engage in meaningful activity, manage your stress, and prosper in all aspects of your well-being!