1. Practice self-respect and self-love; they reinforce each other. With these feelings, you will treat yourself and others with the highest regard. Find friends that support your growth and your life of healthy habits.
2. Work with yourself or with the aid of a counselor to heal past wounds and sources of destructive behavior. These might be smoking, alcohol and/or drug abuse, or acting out toward others from deep-seated frustrations and anger. Remember that there may also be a biochemical component to addictive behaviors.
3. Learn about fair fighting in your personal relationships to avoid vicious or violent arguments that could separate you further from your loved ones, and which can cause emotional damage. Learning to listen fully before responding is an important approach in healing conflicts. Know the difference between reaction and response.
4. A key guideline in personal relationships is, “Don’t say things out of anger.” Remember that words can be deeply hurtful. Learn to express your anger in safe and non-hurtful ways; anger can be a teacher to help in your healing. When you feel angry, work it out through physical activity rather than in your relationships, and then heal the problems through constructive communication.
5. Eat a balanced diet with good-quality foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits. Avoid foods that cause reactive symptoms as they can affect your moods. Try to break food habits/abuses, especially to psychoactive foods such as sugar, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol and for many people, wheat products. Explore the Glycemic Index online since a diet lower in sugars can stabilize mood.
6. Exercise regularly with a balanced program that includes stretching for flexibility, aerobics for endurance and weight training for strength. This can help to lower body weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercise makes your body, mind and heart happy, and is a good prevention for depression.
7. Nutritional supplements to support emotional well being include the essential fatty acids, the B vitamins, calcium and magnesium to relax the body and muscles, valerian root or kava for anxiety or better sleep, and St. John’s wort, SAM-e, or 5-HTP for depression.
8. Learn to manage your stress and communicate your feelings in a safe and non-aggressive way. Practice forgiveness and moving forward in life, still being aware of what you have learned from your life experiences (to avoid repeating mistakes in behavior).
9. Identify your key issues, create positive affirmations and practice them daily. Examples could be, “I am a loving person and I deserve love.” Or, “I am happy and healthy, physically and emotionally.”
10. Develop close personal relationships that you can count on for support. Continue to expand your ability to give and receive in your friendships and “loveships,” and let your sails fly free in the wind. Give yourself permission to live with passion and spontaneity.
© 2015 by Elson Haas, MD