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Advice on how to achieve and maintain emotional well-being

    Emotional well-being

    Table of Contents

    What is emotional well-being?

    Defining emotional well-being in the same way as we would define the unemployment rate, the incidence of allergies or the birth rate is proving to be an impossible task. The notion of well-being is not something that can be measured, quantified or even easily explained. In other words, emotional well-being is entirely subjective and the best definition is simply the one you give it. 


    However, many specialists have tried to find a general definition for the concept, and in the end it includes other drawers that are as many questions that are integrated into the original notion.


    One of the most commonly used definitions defines emotional well-being as a subjective state of satisfaction and inner tranquillity, in which a person is in harmony with their emotions and demonstrates good mental health. 

    It involves the ability to recognise, understand and effectively manage one’s emotions, which may themselves depend on a number of factors:

    • Physical well-being
    • Economic well-being.
    • Social well-being.
    • Development and activity.
    • Psychological well-being.
    • Satisfaction with life.
    • Domain-specific satisfaction.
    • Engagement activities and work.

    In the end, the reasons attributable to emotional wellbeing cross, uncross and intertwine, leaving us with a synthesis that is anchored in the body and mind, leaving it to the host to decipher its content. Which is no easy task.


    What are the different types of well-being?

    As we saw in the previous section, emotional well-being is wholly or partly dependent on 3 sub-types of well-being:


    • Physical well-being: refers to the state of health and optimal functioning of the body. It encompasses aspects such as physical fitness, nutrition, sleep, hygiene, the ability to cope with physical stress, and disease prevention
    • Economic well-being: This concerns the level of satisfaction and material prosperity of an individual or a society. It is closely linked to economic factors such as income, employment, financial stability, economic opportunities and access to resources
    • Social well-being: This third and final type of well-being refers to the quality and satisfaction of an individual’s social relationships. It encompasses elements such as social support, social integration, the quality of interpersonal relationships, the sense of belonging to a community and social participation.

    What is important for well-being?

    You’ve probably already heard of Maslow’s pyramid, the famous psychological theory proposed by Abraham Maslow. This theory suggests that human beings have a series of needs that must be satisfied in order to reach their full potential and fulfilment, and therefore a state of well-being. 


    At the top of Maslow’s pyramid are the so-called ‘self-fulfilment’ needs, which include the realisation of one’s potential, personal fulfilment, creativity, the search for meaning and the fulfilment of one’s aspirations. These needs are closely linked to emotional well-being, because when people are able to satisfy these needs, they are more likely to feel fulfilled, satisfied and emotionally balanced.


    However, to achieve self-actualisation, Maslow’s pyramid highlights the need to satisfy other prerequisite needs. These include basic physiological needs (such as hunger, thirst, sleep), security needs (such as stability, physical and emotional safety), social needs (such as a sense of belonging, love and affection), and esteem needs (such as recognition, self-respect and a sense of competence).


    When these basic needs are not met, it can lead to emotional difficulties and compromise a person’s overall well-being. For example, a lack of security or social support can lead to anxiety, emotional distress or feelings of loneliness.

    So satisfying the basic needs described in Maslow’s pyramid plays an important role in promoting emotional well-being. By working to satisfy these different needs, individuals are better able to develop their emotional potential, experience a sense of well-being and move closer to self-fulfilment.

    What can emotional shock cause?

    The quest for emotional well-being is not an easy one. We face many obstacles that can prevent us from achieving this goal. Emotional shock is undoubtedly the most devastating of them all. It can have a variety of effects on a person, both physically and psychologically. The consequences of emotional shock include :


    • Intense emotional reaction: after an emotional shock, intense negative emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, shock, confusion, anxiety or distress may arise. These emotions may be temporary or persistent, and their intensity may vary depending on the severity of the shock and the individual’s ability to cope.
    • Disruption to daily functioning: in retrospect, such a shock can disrupt the ability to concentrate, make decisions, maintain relationships and carry out daily tasks. It can also lead to sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, mood changes and reduced energy.
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): this condition is characterised by symptoms such as recurrent flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, hypersensitivity, avoidance of stimuli related to the trauma and increased anxiety and irritability.
    • Physical reactions: emotional shock can lead to physical reactions such as headaches, muscle pain, gastrointestinal problems, increased blood pressure, skin problems and a lowered immune system. These symptoms may be due to the release of chemicals in the body in response to emotional stress.
    • Impact on mental health: An emotional shock can increase the risk of developing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders or substance abuse disorders. It is important to monitor your mental health after an emotional shock and to seek help if necessary.
    • Changes in beliefs and outlook: An emotional shock can call into question a person’s beliefs, values and outlook. It can lead to a reassessment of oneself, others and the world around them, and can eventually lead to significant changes in the way a person perceives and approaches their life.


    It should be noted that reactions to emotional shock vary from person to person. Some people may cope more easily and recover quickly, while others may need more support and time to recover. If you or someone you know has experienced an emotional shock and is struggling, it is advisable to seek help from a qualified mental health professional.

    How can you improve your emotional well-being?

    Improving emotional health requires personal investment and a commitment to regular practice. To achieve emotional well-being, you need to pay particular attention to your emotions or stress and strive for balance. Here are a few tips for improving your emotional health:


    • Become aware of your emotions: Pay attention to your emotions and learn to recognise them. Identify the situations, thoughts or interactions that trigger positive or negative emotions. This will give you a better understanding of your emotional reactions.
    • Manage your stress: Learn stress management techniques such as deep breathing, regular exercise, planning and organising, and setting healthy limits. Identify the stressors in your life and explore ways to reduce or manage them effectively.
    • Express your emotions in a healthy way: Find appropriate ways to express your emotions. Talk to a trusted friend, keep a diary, practise art therapy or use other forms of creative expression to release your emotions.
    • Develop positive relationships: Surround yourself with positive, caring people. Cultivate healthy, supportive relationships with your family, friends and loved ones. The quality of your interpersonal relationships plays an essential role in your emotional well-being.
    • Balance your life: Seek a balance between the different spheres of your life, including work, family, leisure and rest. Establish clear boundaries between your personal and professional life, and devote time to activities you enjoy outside work.
    • Cultivate gratitude: Taking the time to recognise and appreciate the positive aspects of life is one of the keys to emotional well-being. Keep a gratitude diary where you write down something you’re grateful for every day. This can help you develop a positive outlook and boost your emotional well-being. You’ll see, it’s very effective: you immediately feel different, immediately better.
    • Seek professional help if necessary: If you’re experiencing persistent emotional difficulties or if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to consult a mental health professional. They can help you explore your emotions, develop management strategies and improve your emotional health in a more targeted way.

    Integrative medicine as an aid to emotional health

    As we saw earlier, the definition of emotional well-being incorporates both the physical and mental dimensions, concepts which are important in integrative medicine. It is therefore logical to consider complementary practices as supports for emotional well-being.


    One such practice is sophrology, which helps people to connect with their sensations, manage stress more effectively, develop self-awareness and promote a state of serenity and emotional balance. 


    At Hifas da Terra, a laboratory specialising in mushrooms, we are keen to study the effects of using mushrooms on mental health, and particularly emotional health.  And with good reason: medicinal mushrooms are rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds such as polysaccharides, triterpenes and amino acids, which have been shown to have positive effects on emotional well-being. 


    Some of them, such as reishi, have been shown to have adaptogenic properties, meaning that they help the body adapt to stress factors. These mushrooms can support the nervous system and reduce stress-related symptoms such as anxiety and emotional tension.


    Another interesting example is Lion’s Mane, particularly well-known for its recent scientific studies, one of which showed that regular consumption could be beneficial for cognitive function and help reduce symptoms of depression.


    Finally, other, more traditional uses claim that Cordyceps can be useful for its stimulating and energising properties to combat mental and physical fatigue, which can have a positive effect on emotional balance.


    In all cases, remember that improving emotional health is an individual process that takes time and patience. Be kind to yourself and engage in practices that help you cultivate positive emotional health.

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