Alana San Filippo
Good Mental Health Also Includes Negative Emotions
So much talk surrounding good mental health focuses on having positive emotions; feeling happy, calm, unbothered. However, the presence of distress can be a sign of good mental health, and the absence of feelings like anxiety at times can be concerning.
When something bad happens to you, when you lose something or someone important to you, when a situation in your life changes for the worse, feeling sadness, grief, and disappointment are all normal, healthy responses.
When you are behind in a project, when you are late for an important meeting, when you are in a dangerous situation, anxiety is not only a valid emotion, but can be important for your safety and well being.
When things get out of balance is when these feelings become unmanageable. So ask yourself, do the feelings fit the circumstances? Are they being managed well? When unpleasant feelings arise do you accept those feelings and go for healthy ways to make yourself feel better? Or do you numb yourself to cope? If you are raising a teenager this can be especially hard to gauge, as teens can have intense emotions and reactions, leaving parents wondering if they need help or not.
Look for help when what you are doing isn’t working. If the way you cope with tough emotions ends up costing you in someway in your life, it is time to make a change. Upsetting situations in life are normal. If you have the tools to deal with them you will be on your way to better mental health.