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No “April Fool” in this edition of the Alliance Handshake!



We are focusing on your “healthiest self” by providing you this emotional wellness toolkit published by the National Institute of Health.

How you feel can affect your ability to carry out everyday activities, your relationships, and your overall mental health. How you react to your experiences and feelings can change over time. Emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.

Do you tend to look on the sunny side, or do you see a future filled with dark, stormy skies? A growing body of research suggests that having a positive outlook can benefit your physical health. NIH-funded scientists are working to better understand the links between your attitude and your body. They’re finding some evidence that emotional wellness can be improved by developing certain skills.

We discuss five strategies for improving your emotional health. With each strategy there is a checklist on how to improve your health in that area.

Happy, healthy living.

William Van Ry, Owner & CEO




Brighten Your Outlook



People who are emotionally well, experts say, have fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back from difficulties faster. This quality is called resilience. Another sign of emotional wellness is being able to hold onto positive emotions longer and appreciate the good times.

  • Remember your good deeds. Give yourself credit for the good things you do for others each day.

  • Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from what went wrong, but don’t dwell on it.

  • Spend more time with your friends. Surround yourself with positive, healthy people.

  • Explore your beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life. Think about how to guide your life by the principles that are important to you.

  • Develop healthy physical habits. Healthy eating, physical activity, and regular sleep can improve your physical and mental health.

Reduce Stress

Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Stress can give you a rush of energy when it’s needed most. But if stress lasts a long time—a condition known as chronic stress—those “high-alert” changes become harmful rather than helpful. Learning healthy ways to cope with stress can also boost your resilience.

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Exercise regularly. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood and reduce stress.

  • Build a social support network.

  • Set priorities. Decide what must get done and what can wait. Say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload.

  • Think positive. Note what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day, not what you’ve failed to do.

  • Try relaxation methods. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or tai chi may help.

  • Seek help. Talk to a mental health professional if you feel unable to cope, have suicidal thoughts, or use drugs or alcohol to cope.

Get Quality Sleep



To fit in everything we want to do in our day, we often sacrifice sleep. But sleep affects both mental and physical health. It’s vital to your well-being. When you’re tired, you can’t function at your best. Sleep helps you think more clearly, have quicker reflexes and focus better. Take steps to make sure you regularly get a good night’s sleep.

  • Go to bed the same time each night and get up the same time each morning.

  • Sleep in a dark, quiet, comfortable environment.

  • Exercise daily (but not right before bedtime).

  • Limit the use of electronics before bed.

  • Relax before bedtime. A warm bath or reading might help.

  • Avoid alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine late in the day.

  • Avoid nicotine.

  • Consult a health care professional if you have ongoing sleep problems.


Cope with Loss



When someone you love dies, your world changes. There is no right or wrong way to mourn. Although the death of a loved one can feel overwhelming, most people can make it through the grieving process with the support of family and friends. Learn healthy ways to help you through difficult times.

  • Take care of yourself. Try to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. Avoid bad habits—like smoking or drinking alcohol—that can put your health at risk.

  • Talk to caring friends. Let others know when you want to talk.

  • Find a grief support group. It might help to talk with others who are also grieving.

  • Don’t make major changes right away. Wait a while before making big decisions like moving or changing jobs.

  • Talk to your doctor if you’re having trouble with everyday activities.

  • Consider additional support. Sometimes short-term talk therapy can help.

  • Be patient. Mourning takes time. It’s common to have roller-coaster emotions for a while.

  • Build strong relationships with your kids.


Strengthen Social Connections


Social connections might help protect health and lengthen life. Scientists are finding that our links to others can have powerful effects on our health—both emotionally and physically. Whether with romantic partners, family, friends, neighbors, or others, social connections can influence our biology and well-being.

  • Get active and share good habits with family and friends.

  • If you’re a family caregiver, ask for help from others.

  • Join a group focused on a favorite hobby, such as reading, hiking, or painting.

  • Take a class to learn something new.

  • Volunteer for things you care about in your community, like a community garden, school, library, or place of worship.

  • Travel to different places and meet new people.

For other wellness topics, please visit www.nih.gov/wellnesstoolkits


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