Every October we observe Emotional Wellness Month, but this year it seems more important than ever to take time out to examine our emotions and the impact they are having on our life. 

What is Emotional Wellness? 
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines emotional wellness as “the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.” Emotional wellness doesn’t mean a person is always happy. Instead, they have the ability to recognize negative emotions, accept them and cope in healthy ways. They don’t act impulsively in response to emotions.

Why is Emotional Wellness Important?
Emotional distress has a negative impact on physical health. When a person is under stress, the body produces the stress hormone, cortisol. Chronically high levels of cortisol lead to inflammation in the body. Stress also decreases the number of white blood cells in the body, which weakens the immune system and makes a person more susceptible to illness and infection. If a person is under high levels of stress for a prolonged period of time, they are at higher risk for physical illnesses such as heart disease, ulcers, diabetes and even cancer.