5​ Things Emotionally Healthy People Don't Do

It's never too late to break bad habits.
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It's never too late to break bad habits.

We often hear about the dos and don'ts of taking care of our physical health. But what about our emotional side? This kind of well-being is more than just being in a good mood. It focuses on how we approach life on a day-to-day basis. Like most facets of well-being, emotional health isn’t achieved overnight. It takes conscious effort over time. And it’s important to remember that it’s never too late to begin. If you're ready to improve your emotional and mental health, then take a cue from the five things emotionally healthy people don't do:

01. They don't compare themselves to other people.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Emotionally healthy people are happier because they do not compare themselves to others. In fact, a recent study found that Facebook use by young adults results in lower subjective well-being. When you compare, you form a unit of measurement to gauge your successes against. But who is to say what the "right" measurement is? Comparison sets an imaginary bar—one that might not even apply to you. It defines your endeavors by other people’s terms, while disregarding the awesome things you have done. An emotionally healthy person compares the woman she is today to the girl she once was, and the woman she wants to be tomorrow. When she’s concerned with only her own standards, happiness is much more feasible.

02. They don't let others define their self-worth.

While it’s essential to be mindful of how others perceive us, emotionally healthy people don’t let others' opinions determine their worth. When this happens, they don’t degrade their value as a human being. They recognize that this is a diverse world with a medley of personalities, beliefs, views, and expectations. A study by the American Psychological Association discusses how people are motivated by outside "threats" (other people, etc.) and the meanings or value placed on certain events and situations. It’s easy to become preoccupied with these supposed meanings, instead of being motivated by the goal of personal growth and development. These outside threats may get the job done for the time being but in the long term, they don't actually help one grow. An emotionally healthy person acknowledges the values around her, but ultimately strives to achieve her own definition of self-worth.

03. They don't put effort into friendships with people who bring them down.

Emotionally healthy people won't seek advice from individuals who don’t bring out the best in them. They strive to be around people who help them learn about their own character. They choose which relationships to nurture, focusing on those that help them flourish. Dr. Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter, cautions against a friendship that helps us survive but doesn't help us thrive. It's easy to feel continually confused, for example, when you hang out with an indecisive crowd. This means cutting ties with pessimists and Debbie Downers or distancing oneself from their toxic and negative vibes.

04. They don't shy away from being alone.

An emotionally healthy person is not afraid of solitude. Although the company of others is rewarding, there’s a different kind of reward in being alone. Spending time alone is associated with a number of benefits: freedom, creativity, intimacy, and spirituality, according to a study from the Philippine Journal of Psychology. Emotionally healthy people value their own company, knowing that they’re good enough by themselves. They realize that being alone doesn’t have to be better or worse than being with someone—it’s just different. Solitude allows us to reflect in a way that is untouched by others' thoughts. Healthy people embrace these moments and acknowledge that they are one of the most authentic versions of themselves when alone.

05. They don't focus on negatives.

Emotionally healthy people don’t dwell on the bad aspects of mistakes, unfortunate events, or failures. They let it sink in, cry it off, and then move forward. They realize that joy isn’t about good situations happening, but rather a good approach to the situations that do happen. The big difference between the two is that you can control the latter. You can give two artists the same set of low-quality paints, but the artwork produced will be different. The “good” artist will give 110 percent in an attempt to create something beautiful. The “bad” artist will assume defeat, throw in the towel, and blame the quality of the materials. An emotionally healthy person will make the best of what life provides—and then reap the physical health benefits. A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found that students who wrote daily about topics focused on intensely positive experiences had better mood levels, fewer visits to the health center, and experienced fewer illnesses.