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Taking Care of You: Part 2: Emotional Health

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Taking Care of You: Part 2: Emotional Health
Second in a series of articles on holistic health. 

In this series of articles, we're focussing on the five components of holistic health: 

PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, SOCIAL, SPIRITUAL, AND MENTAL 

Our last post discussed beginning a physical routine. Now let's turn to our emotional well-being. We often overlook our emotional health-- our daily moods and emotions-- but it is so important for managing all aspects of our lives, and can even adversely affect our physical and mental health if not supported and strengthened. 

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. When we can do that, we can make better decisions, prioritize our actions and create better responses. Let's look at four key steps.

First we need to recognize and understand emotions, ours as well as those around us. It hard sometimes to pause in the moment and understand that emotions are driving the conversation or the decisions. Watch for emotional clues, including body language and facial expressions. 

Secondly, recognize that emotions create priorities for us: the things that garner our strongest emotions get most of our attention. They can sometimes drive our actions-- not always the best idea-- but knowing their strength, we can put them in perspective. 

Thirdly, try and understand emotions. If someone is happy, it may be because they're enjoying your conversation immensely, or it may be that they just learned they're getting a raise at work. Getting to the root of emotions is important in helping us understand the current situation, but it's not always obvious or even possible.

Finally, managing emotions is the crucial culmination of these steps. Regulating emotions and responding appropriately (in ourselves and others) is the ultimate goal of emotional intelligence.  

All of this is meant to help us get closer to our emotions and to understand their proper place in our lives. Emotions are just as important to our lives as eating right and taking care of ourselves. And emotional well-being is critical to living a happy, fulfilling life.