Top tips for improving health and emotional well-being


This week is Emotional Health Week, a time to stop and think about our emotional health, its importance and how to improve it.

We’ve put together a guide to understanding emotional health, and our top tips to prioritise it.

What is emotional health?

Emotional health is the understanding our emotions, thoughts and feelings. Finding the ability to manage our emotions can be helpful throughout life’s challenges and setbacks. To feel in control of how our emotions affect other aspects of our lives, we can take steps to manage them.


What's the difference between emotional health and mental health? 

Although we often put emotional health under the same umbrella as mental health, there is a difference.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realise their abilities, learn and work well, and contribute to their community.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) describes emotional health as the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.

Mental health focuses on overall mental well-being. Emotional health is our emotions and feelings and the ability to cope with them in positive and negative situations.

Factors that can influence emotional health

Different things can affect how we feel and make it difficult to control our emotions in different situations we face. Emotional health often plays a role in situations such as:

  • Challenges with work, education or relationships.
  • Changes in health.
  • Changes in relationships.
  • Retirement – which can cause a change of lifestyle or lacking feeling of purpose and social interaction.

  • Bereavement and grief.
  • Moving to a new location with a lack of relationships in the community.

Key influences can affect our emotional health. These can both improve or help to manage our emotional health or cause challenges.


How can physical activity affect emotional health?

Physical activity can be key in improving and supporting our emotional health. Physical activity contributes to creating a positive mindset and clearing the mind when needed. You don't have to exercise for a long time or do intense workouts. Less strenuous activities like walking the dog or gardening can improve your emotional health.

Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that improve mood, self-esteem, focus, sleep, and overall well-being.

How does sleep affect emotional health?

We all know that getting enough sleep is important. Sleep helps us to feel energised for a new day and allows our body to relax and reset. But do you know how sleep affects your emotional health?

Sleep helps us pay better attention and make decisions, making managing emotional health easier. Lack of sleep can make it harder to control our emotions and struggle more with emotional health. A connection exists between sleep deprivation and anger and aggression in moods.

Often when we do not get enough sleep, it results in us feeling grumpy or easily irritated. This can make things that negatively affect us feel harder to manage. Sleep can support us in improving our emotional health, as well as benefits for our physical health.

How does stress affect emotional health?

Stress can affect our emotional health. Anyone can experience stress, which often results from factors such as.

  • Work.
  • Changes in lifestyle.
  • Personal problems, including relationship or financial issues.
  • Life changes and bereavement.
  • Loneliness.
  • Health issues.

Stress can affect emotional health if it is affecting our personal life. Signs of stress on our emotional health can include:

  • Moodiness.
  • Irritability.
  • Anxiousness.
  • Nervousness.
  • Feeling agitated.

Negative effects on emotional health can make it difficult to cope with emotions. Finding healthy ways to deal with them is important. It can be a continuous cycle, as stress can affect our sleeping patterns, and a poor sleep pattern can cause stress.

How can I improve my emotional health?

Infographic with Emotional Health Top Tips

We can all do simple things to improve our emotional health, even by taking small steps at a time.

Reduce stress:

These are some of the activities you can get involved in to help reduce stress:

  • Journaling.
  • Meditation.
  • Yoga.
  • Affirmations.

Reducing stress can help you sleep better and have a more positive attitude towards life and tough situations. This can help to improve emotional health and allow us to manage emotions, learning to cope with them. Read more on our reducing stress blog.

Prioritise your sleep:

Getting a good night’s sleep will help us to feel refreshed and ready for a new day, boosting physical and mental energy. Getting enough sleep allows us to deal with and manage emotions better in day-to-day life. You can make getting a good night's sleep easy by aiming to:

  • Get into a better sleep routine.
  • Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
  • Exercising daily.
  • Avoiding using or watching screens before bed.

Stay active:

Being active helps stimulate the brain as well as improving emotional health. Engaging in outdoor activities or being active often brings a sense of accomplishment and clarity to the mind. Research has proven that physical activity improves brain functions. All physical activity can be good for emotional health, so we recommend getting involved where you can.

Two people exercising in a sunny park.

Stay social:

Loneliness can be a factor in poor emotional health. Moving, new job, or losing a family member can impact our emotional health.

Changes can affect how we feel. Staying social can be a wonderful way to keep a positive mindset. Having supportive people around us can help us make better choices and lower the risk of poor emotional health.

Tips for staying social:

  • Building good relationships with friends, colleagues, and family.
  • Take on a new hobby or activity.
  • Volunteering and travelling.

Help others and let others help when needed:

Discussing our emotions and struggles can help our overall emotional health. Often opening up can take a weight off our shoulders.

People with emotional health are good at discussing their feelings and emotions. This is an important trait. It is also important to be there when we can for other people.

Ways to keep an eye on and help those around us with their emotional health include:

  • Be there to listen.
  • If you are concerned about someone, try to talk to them and create a safe space to talk about emotions and feelings.
  • Stay in touch and show an interest.
  • Be patient and reassuring.

CABA provide support and tips on being open and discussing feelings.

Use resources available:

Health and life insurers offer toolkits and resources to use, which focus on improving mental and emotional health.

Bupa offers quick round-the-clock access to mental health support via the Digital GP app. A specialist mental health team is also available through Bupa.

AXA support is available around the clock for members with AXA’s 24/7 Health at Hand service. Counsellors are just a phone call away.

Aviva offers a Stress Counselling helpline with trained counsellors to talk about anything on your mind or bothering you.

Vitality offers gyms membership discounts, spas and fitness equipment, which can support emotional health.

The Exeter provides access to trained specialists who can evaluate and treat various mental health conditions. They also offer emotional and behavioural support. Access to lifestyle coaching, stress management, improving sleep and motivation to exercise is available.

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