There can be no doubt that emotional wellness and emotional intelligence go hand in hand. But what does it mean to be emotionally well? Is it something mysterious and unattainable? Or is it something that anyone can achieve?

This article will explore these questions and discuss how emotional wellness appears and how the lives of emotionally well people appear.

Definitions are a Good Place to Begin

The National Center for Emotional Wellness is an organization committed to fostering emotional wellness by offering information, strategies, guidance, and support to those in need, including workplaces, communities, healthcare systems, and survivors of mass casualty events. They offer the following definition of emotional wellness.

“Emotional Wellness refers to an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of our feelings, and our ability to manage effectively through challenges and change.”

No one escapes the fact that life is complicated and full of challenges. However, how you cope with these issues determines how emotionally well you are and shows your true self. Emotional wellness is about embracing the goodness in your life and seeing your life’s glass as half full instead of half empty.

When you are tuned into your emotions, you can understand and be more attuned to your body and act on your emotions more reliably. Remaining in the now and not forecasting into the future or looking back at the past is vital to becoming and being emotionally well.

Emotional wellness encourages us to foster the practice of mindfulness, but it does not mean you are happy and carefree all the time. Instead, you are self-aware and can shift and change to help yourself feel better. Becoming emotionally well allows for the opportunity to attain your full potential as a person.

What Does Emotional Wellness Look Like?

Emotional wellness encompasses self-care, relaxation, the development of inner strength, and stress reduction. It also means being aware and attentive to both negative and positive emotions you might face throughout your days on this planet. Emotional wellness also includes your ability to learn and grow from these experiences and developing decision-making skills.

Emotional wellness is vital if you wish to live a happy and productive life. Being emotionally well allows you to have the power to express feelings without constraints. However, because you have reasonable emotional control, you can form supportive and interdependent relationships with others.

There are five questions you can ask yourself to see if you are emotionally well.

  1. Are you sensitive and compassionate? The way you treat others in your life is a barometer of how emotionally well you are. Those who are emotionally well, tend to be sensitive and loving about other people’s needs, and are more generous.
  2. Do you feel grateful? Emotionally well people have an attitude of gratitude for their lives and the good things that happen to them. They appreciate what they have and do not worry over the things they do not possess. Emotionally well, people count their blessings. These things are not only money or material things, but also includes others’ love and warmth and things such as their physical health.
  3. Do you love yourself? Those who are emotionally healthy love themselves unconditionally. This attitude might sound counterintuitive or vain, but I assure you it is not. Self-love is a vital part of emotional wellness as you will take better care of yourself, try hard to become a better person, and attempt to help others around you.
  4. Are you flexible and have an open mind? Are you self-aware and listen to the thoughts of yourself and others? When you are open-minded and willing to listen to others’ viewpoints, you open yourself up to growth as a person.
  5. Do you successfully manage stress? Emotionally well people have their own methods of navigating the stress in their lives through meditation, exercise, therapy, or the arts. Emotionally well people maintain a balance between work and play.

How did you score when comparing yourself to the above list of characteristics of an emotionally well person? If you found yourself lacking, that’s okay because that’s the beauty of attaining emotional wellness; it is an ongoing process.

The Three Aspects of Emotional Wellness

emotional wellness - cptsd foundation blog seriesDr. Steven Eric Handwerker, founder, and CEO of The International Association for the Advancement of Human Welfare, Inc., offers his insights into what he has identified as the three aspects of resilience the base upon emotional wellness is built. Dr. Handwerker states there are three vital parts to resilience, coping, adaptation, and transformation.

The first element of resilience is coping. Coping is made of intellectual, physical, and emotional aspects applied to each problem a person may face. Coping is all about creating a balance through physical care of one’s body and the conscious reduction of stress. It also encompasses observing and engaging the emotions one may face when encountering a challenge. One physical the other intellectual, these two components work together to make one more resilient and thus emotionally healthy.

Adaptation does not mean resigning to the experience you may be having but instead using your intuitive and intellectual gifts to decide what is needed to transform stress into a challenge.

Transformation is the objective of having and utilizing resilience. Transformation is the natural consequence of coping and adaptation as one realizes their experiences and what emotions they are feeling facing them head-on and compassionately dealing with them. Understanding who you are inside is incredibly freeing and allows for emotional wellness to thrive.

Ten Things You Can Do to Attain Emotional Wellness

There are no magic lists of how to become emotionally well. However, Dr. Mark Lerner on the site for the National Center for Emotional Wellness offers the following ten things you can do to attain emotional health.

The following is quoted from the page linked above.

  1.  Become aware of your feelings and try to label them (e.g., “I’m feeling nervous.” “I’m feeling sad.” “I’m feeling frustrated.” etc.).
  2.  Try to identify your thoughts and how they are precipitating or being influenced by, a feeling (e.g., “I’ve been thinking about how I responded to her and I’m feeling angry.”).
  3.  Learn to accept that feelings are not right or wrong … they just are.
  4.  Slow down and think before you act; make goal-directed choices.
  5.  Realize that you have the ability to choose your focus—what you think about.
  6.  If you find yourself thinking repetitively about something that is causing you emotional discomfort, identify the thought and try to dismiss it (e.g., “Stop it. This is not productive.”).
  7.  Know that it’s okay not to be okay during considerable challenges and change. Allow yourself to experience normal reactions in the face of an abnormal event.
  8.  If you are grappling with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, distract yourself and change what you are doing (e.g., Take a walk. Exercise. Listen to music. Speak with a friend or loved one. etc.).
  9.  Speak with people with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings—people who listen more than they speak. Rely on interpersonal face-to-face communication.
  10. Strive to become the person that you would ideally like to be. While this may be a hypothetical construct, something that can’t be directly observed and subject to influence by the world around you, choose your “bullseye.”

In closing

As one can see, emotional wellness isn’t out of reach for anyone. The rewards of becoming emotionally healthy are magnificent, especially compared to the unhappiness and instability that not being so can bring.

Above all else, believe in yourself. Will you do a perfect job of attaining a standard of emotional wellness? No. The reason is simple; there is no perfect standard of emotional health.

Practice being good to yourself. Listen to your thoughts and see what you are thinking. If your thoughts are full of melancholy speech and your self-talk filled with negativity, consider strongly changing your words to more positive words.

These suggestions aren’t magic potions to heal your mind, but rather a piece of advice from someone who has been there.

“After years of being taught that the way to deal with painful emotions is to get rid of them, it can take a lot of re-schooling to learn to sit with them instead, finding out from those who feel them what they have learned by sleeping in the wilderness that those who sleep in comfortable houses may never know.” ~ Barbara Brown Taylor


If you a survivor or someone who loves a survivor and cannot find a therapist who treats complex post-traumatic stress disorder, please, contact CPTSD Foundation. We have a staff of volunteers who have been compiling a list of providers who treat CPTSD. They would be happy to give you more ideas about where to look for and find a therapist to help you.

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Shortly, CPTSD Foundation will have compiled a long list of providers who treat complex post-traumatic stress disorder. When it becomes available, we will be putting it on our website

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The Healing Book Club

Today, CPTSD Foundation would like to invite you to our healing book club, reading a new book that began in September. The title of the latest featured book is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.

Led by Sabra Cain, the healing book club is only $7 per month, the fee going towards scholarships for those who cannot afford access to materials offered by CPTSD Foundation.

Should you decide to join the Healing Book Club, please purchase your books through our Amazon link to help us help you.

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