By Nicole McCray
Emotional well-being is the awareness, understanding and acceptance of your feelings and the ability to effectively manage through change or challenges.
Cognition, on the other hand, is the ability to acquire, understand and apply knowledge and new information. Investing in your mental health is essential to improving your cognition and brain functions.
In most cases, people tend to neglect their emotional and mental well-being and primarily focus on their physical health. However, focusing only on your physical health doesn’t guarantee optimal results.
So, ensuring that you include holistic practices to improve your emotional well-being and cognition as a woman is essential. In this post, we’ll cover some of the go-to practices that will help you effortlessly take an all-around approach to your well-being.
Improve Your Mindfulness Through Meditation
Mindfulness allows you to stay focused on the present moment and increases your awareness of your feelings and surroundings. It reduces instances such as when a friend is talking to you but you can’t stop thinking about what you’ll prepare later for dinner.
In addition, when you practice mindfulness, you’ll stay in touch with your feelings and learn to work through different situations with ease. Studies have shown that mindfulness has a great impact on our emotional and cognitive health, making it an essential practice.
To enhance and cultivate a mindful state throughout your day, incorporate a meditation practice. Meditation helps you get into the practice of focusing on one thing (such as breathing) and bringing your attention back when it drifts.
Sleep deprivation can cause a lot of stress on your body leading to cognitive decline and emotional outbursts. As an adult, it is important to ensure that you get at least seven to nine hours of sleep daily for optimal rest.
Your quality of sleep is also an important aspect to consider. You need to invest in ensuring that when you sleep you actually wake up rested and not more tired. Unwinding before bed is one of the best ways to improve your sleep quality.
Start by avoiding your screens (cell phone, computer, tablet) at least one hour before bed. Meditate, read a book or stretch to help you relax and slow down your heart rate. After unwinding, you’ll be ready to enjoy good quality sleep.
Have you ever had days where you seem to have a lack of focus which then affects your output and leads to frustration? Your diet plays a big role in this. Having a diet high in refined carbs has been shown to lead to cognitive decline which could in turn affect your emotional responses.
Diet contributes greatly to our body’s healing processes showing that it has an immense influence on our bodies. In integrative medicine, diet is one of the major treatment options for general health and well-being.
Maintaining a healthy diet by eating whole foods from across different food groups is essential. It helps improve your brain functions and reduces mood fluctuations, gives you more focus throughout your day and better results.
When you get started with your day, you may have a plan of all the things you want to achieve on your to-do list. However, things may not go as you had planned. Other factors may come up and affect the flow of your day which affects what you achieve.
The most common response would be to beat yourself up for it and feel bad for not achieving what you had set out to do. But, this is not a healthy way to cope with the things that don’t go your way.
Instead, practice self-compassion and look at the things you have accomplished. Then plan to have a better output the next day. The same applies to when you’re trying to build new habits. When you fall off, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Self-compassion allows you to manage and reduce the stress that may affect your emotional and mental well-being.
Exercise has been shown to help to reduce anxiety, stress and cognitive decline while increasing your confidence and self-esteem. Developing and following an exercise routine is a great way to take care of your emotional well-being and cognition.
Your exercise routine doesn’t have to be complicated. Choose something that is comfortable for you and that you can stick to and turn into a daily habit. Some great exercise options include;
Your mindset is key to how you feel in different situations. For instance, if someone is rude to you, your mindset will either interpret it as personal or brush it off and chalk it up to the person probably having a bad day.
If you take their rudeness personally, you may get triggered and spiral into an emotional mess. But, if you reset your mindset to whatever they said is not personal, then you’ll have better control over your emotions and responses.
Working on your mindset shifts is an ongoing practice that could involve different things such as affirmations and gratitude journaling. Shifting from a negative to a positive mindset is a great way to improve your emotional well-being.
Make Time for Your Self-Care Practices
Relaxing spa dates, or applying a facial mask and enjoying a cup of coffee after a long day, or going on a movie night with friends are great ways to improve your emotional and mental health. Taking care of yourself is the foundation of your overall health and should be a priority.
Invest in the self-care practices that help you reconnect with yourself and make you feel safe in your skin. Doing this will have a great impact on your emotional health and keep you grounded in what’s true to you.
Bring a Sense of Adventure into Your Life
When was the last time you took up a hobby just for the fun of it? Bringing a sense of adventure into your life means injecting fun and good times in the midst of daily work and life schedules.
Doing something new and out of your comfort zone is a great way to keep your brain active and promote emotional stability.
Some examples could be: taking a walk in a new park in your town, reading a book from an author you just found out about; taking a class from a local community college – almost anything new you can think of!