Understanding and Taking Care of your Mental Health (Emotional Intelligence)

Please read this blog disclaimer first. Do understand that this blog is not a substitute for professional help. These points are here to educate you and spread more awareness but are not to be treated as professional aid. If you feel that you need serious attention or help, do not hesitate to speak to someone about it or seek a professional insight. It is normal to check up on your mental health and it is okay to admit that your mental health is not doing great.

Importance

Understanding your mental health is the first step in taking care of it. While you may believe that your mental health is all right, certain behaviour patterns and minute attitude changes may say otherwise, which is why it is important to observe and understand your body language, routines etc. to get an insight into how you’re doing mentally.

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Signs that your Mental Health is not Okay

There are various signs that depict deteriorating mental health, including not showing as much passion or interest in certain hobbies, not feeling motivated to do much during the day, unconsciously detaching from people (social withdrawal), sudden changes in sleeping and eating routines, feeling disconnected or numb, failing relationships, declining performance at school or work etc.

However, it must be noted that taking breaks or having me-days (like spending all day in bed with Netflix and a bowl of soup) is perfectly all right, and essential to stay sane, and should not be confused with the signs mentioned above — one of the differences between the two (deteriorating mental health and taking breaks) being that there may be a slightly more repetitive manner in the signs.

Related: How To Stay Sane during Covid-19 (for 2021)

I cannot stress this enough: just because you’re not clinically diagnosed with a mental illness or just because you aren’t suicidal does not mean that whatever you’re feeling isn’t important or can be shrugged off. If something’s bothering you, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, it needs to be addressed because if it was something that could be shrugged off, it wouldn’t be bothering you in the first place.

Emotional Intelligence

Being emotionally intelligent means being able to identify, understand and regulate your emotions, whether they are positive, negative, subtle or strong, and being able to understand others’ emotions. In other words, it means knowing what you’re feeling and harnessing it into a positive and even productive outlet. Such people tend to have better leadership and team-working qualities because they aren’t just able to regulate their own emotions and use them for problem-solving or decision-making, but they are also able to help others do the same. This helps in both, professional and personal elements of one’s life.

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5 Aspects of Emotional Intelligence

The five elements mentioned below can help you measure your emotional intelligence and can even be used as a compass to determine where your strengths lie (in understanding your mental health) and where you can improve.

  1. Self-awareness. Identifying changes in your state of mind and understanding what they mean.
  2. Self-regulation. Using that knowledge to control what you feel in a constructive manner.
  3. Motivation. Identifying what motivates you and using that to help you reach your goals.
  4. Empathy. Walking a mile in another person’s shoes and using your ability to understand them to overcome conflict or insensitivity. It is important to understand the difference between sympathy and empathy—While sympathy means being able to understand what someone else is feeling, empathy means actually being able to feel what the other person is feeling by putting yourself in their shoes.
  5. Social Skills. Social skills revolve around three important aspects; firstly, someone with good social skills has an effective way of communication—they know how to get their point across. However, what people forget here is that despite good communication being really important, there isn’t any point in it if the other person doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say. This brings us to the second important aspect of social skills; develop understanding. It’s essential that you help others understand where you’re coming from while also trying to understand the other person in order to reach a common ground. Thirdly, listening is everything. If the other person thinks that you’re not willing to listen, they’ll treat you with the same courtesy. It must be noted that the first step in creating an affiliation or relationship with anyone (whether it’s in the work place or your personal space), you must be willing to listen to the other person.

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