Guard Your Emotional Health and Live Better

Emergency Room

Emotions Are Contagious

You wash your hands before you eat, cover your mouth when you cough, get regular check ups, perhaps a flu shot, and take many other steps to keep your body healthy, but what about your emotional health?

The truth is emotions are contagious. If you are surrounded by pessimistic, unhappy, or possibly even mean or vindictive people, you are going to “catch” an unhealthy emotional bug.  The opposite is also true.  If you are surrounded with friends who are positive and encouraging, your chances of being happy are much greater.

The problem is when we get caught up in a relationship with someone, whether it be romantic, a co-worker, family member, or a friend,  sometimes we have difficulty viewing it objectively, so how do we know when a relationship is bad for us ?

Your Relationship Check up

If you suspect you may be in an unhealthy relationship, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is the person self-centered, rude, or inconsiderate?  You deserve courtesy and respect.
  2. Is the person jealous of the time you spend with other people?  You deserve a wide range of relationships.
  3. Does the person criticize or try to discourage your personal goals, dreams, and desires?  You deserve to live your best life.
  4. Is the person controlling?  Do they insist everything be done their way?  You deserve to make your own decisions.
  5. What kind of relationships does this person have with other people?  Are they arrogant, mean spirited, prejudiced?  Do they like to gossip and stir up trouble? You deserve a relationship with someone with good character.
  6. Does the person invade your privacy, insist that you check in constantly or take them everywhere with you?  You deserve your own space.
  7. Does the person come to you with complaints and problems but neglect your needs?  You deserve support.

There are other questions you could ask, but these will point you in the right direction.

If You’ve diagnosed an unhealthy relationship

Every situation is different.  You should consider your circumstances carefully and perhaps arrange a consultation before you prescribe treatment, but here are some possibilities:

Stop the Bleeding

If the person is family, a spouse or romantic partner, or another relationship that is important to you, perhaps you can work out your problems.  If you don’t have good communication skills or the relationship has deteriorated to the point where you need it, perhaps counseling with a therapist will help.

Apply Disinfectant

Maybe you can’t salvage the relationship the way it is, but you can continue with a different set of rules.  Set new boundaries. For example, family dinners are going to be very difficult if you and your brother in law can’t stand each other.    Agree to keep your distance.  Maybe you were best friends before, but now you can’t stop fighting.  Move a step back and become polite acquaintances.

Time for Major Surgery?

If the relationship is very bad (and trust me I know they can be very bad), you may have to make a clean break.  It’s best if you do it as peacefully as possible, but if a person is consistently interfering with your ability to live a good life, you owe it to yourself to end it. Leave.  Burn the bridge behind you, and don’t look back.  If the person is really scary, get help from people you trust.  The process may be painful, but you will be better off in the long run.

take your emotional vitamins

Once you’ve identified the bad relationships in your life, you can focus on your true friends. Interacting with kind and supportive people is like taking a vitamin every day. They’re good for your emotional health.

Notes from the Author

If you’ve wondered why my posting has been erratic, my depression has been  getting worse lately, and I haven’t been able to write.  My ankles were swollen and making it difficult to walk, , so my husband made me go to the ER where they diagnosed hypertension.  As if I needed another pill…

One problem I’ve had with my mental illness is distinguishing the pains caused by my depression and anxiety from symptoms of something else that needs to be treated. For example, the doctor asked if I’m having chest pains or a sick stomach.  Well of course I was.  It’s called a panic attack!  Or is it a heart problem?  Uh oh.

I’d actually like to dedicate this post to my little sister. She’s not a blood relative.  She’s my sister of the heart.  She’s just gone through a breakup and is very angry, but I think she is also very brave.

If you’re a nerd like me and want to read about research on emotional contagion, here you go.  It’s an academic paper in pdf format.  Yes, I read the whole thing.

Also, it’s World Suicide Prevention Week.  Read about it here.

Share this with friends.  :)   Tweet it!

Photo Attribution:

About emilyrossiter

Ever since I was little I was interested in reading and learning. I was the type of kid who did research for fun. Along the way, I have picked up interests in traditional Geek fare such as video games and tabletop RPGs. Science fiction, horror, and fantasy are my "brain candy." I have a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Education. I taught high school English for a while, but unfortunately, I developed an illness that made it impossible for me to work anymore. Staying at home, I rely on my "Geek Profession" to pass the time.

7 responses to “Guard Your Emotional Health and Live Better

  1. Hope you feel better soon! It doesn’t sound mysterious to me at all! Everything in the body is interconnected. If you have too many or not enough of certain neurotransmitters running around, of course it’s going to affect you. Histamine seems to be one possible culprit in anxiety, for example.

  2. Deb

    So true, emotional contagion is a real thing. Great post!!!!

  3. Awesome reminder!! Thanks! :)

  4. it’s so hard to find a good friend. I want a good friend

    • I’ve been reading your blog notes Just Another Person. Many of the feelings you have I have experienced as well. Everyone’s situation is different though. You are welcome to email me. I can use all the friends I can get as well. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 19 other followers


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: