Counseling for Improved Emotional Health
When your emotional health is weak or damaged, it affects your life in many ways. And while you may feel like you can handle your feelings and emotional problems most of the time, there are times in your life when seeking counseling may be the best answer. If you have ever thought about getting counseling or are struggling with your emotional health, this quick and simple guide can help you make the best decision for yourself and your well-being.
What is Emotional Health?
To start, it is important to emphasize how crucial emotional health is for our overall mental health and the maintenance of a healthy mental state. Being emotionally healthy means you can control your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, you can cope well with the challenges of life, and you can maintain perspective about your problems and setbacks. All of these translate into strong relationships and feeling good about yourself.
Emotional health does not equivalate to being happy all the time. It is about having awareness of your emotions. When you understand and process your feelings, whether positive or negative, you can manage them.
When should you seek counseling?
Emotional health implies knowing when you are not emotionally healthy or having difficulties in managing your emotions, and consequently knowing when you need help. The practice of meditation is a good solution to help you manage your thoughts and feelings. Alternatively, it is completely normal the resort to other people to help manage certain feelings. Usually, these people are our friends and family. However, in some cases, the support and care our loved ones provide is simply not enough.
Here, the need to seek counseling from someone impartial emerges, precisely a mental health professional.
Why is counseling so important for your emotional health?
Being emotionally healthy is a combination of skills that unfortunately most people have to learn since no one is born with them - they are learned and taught. The job of the counselor is exactly this – to teach you how to develop skills that will help you improve yourself, learn more about yourself and understand the foundation of certain coping mechanisms you have that are bringing you down, and how to replace them for healthier ones. Overall, the counselor will help you develop skills to better manage your emotions, by providing tools to help you deal with setbacks, failures, loss, and other negative emotions so that your emotional health can grow and flourish.
There have been certain taboos in our society when it comes to mental health and counseling. Some people may think they are weak for asking for help, but instead, they should focus on the fact that just like a cardiologist can cure and treat your heart issues; a psychologist or counselor can help improve your mental health. Each of them are experts in their field, and both are capable and necessary to improve your health.
In counseling, you will also learn skills to improve symptoms of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Those who work with a counselor often have better results than those who rely solely on medication to treat their symptoms. With therapy, you will learn a different approach to facing the challenging situations that may arise in your life, like the death of a loved one, marriage difficulties, a breakup, or other difficulties that occur throughout your life.
Is Counseling Right for Me?
Your emotional health is a crucial part of your life, as it allows you to live it to the fullest and realize your potential. Controlling your emotions will enable you to be productive and cope with everyday stress while also developing strong relationships and a purpose in life. Safeguard your emotional health by working with a counselor to learn the skills you need to manage your emotions and be happy.
You should take into consideration that with counseling, you will start understanding your thinking patterns and coping mechanisms, how they affect you, and how you can break or change them. You can get to know your mind by focusing on your past life and experiences and understanding how your thinking patterns and coping mechanisms were formed, which will give you the ability to change or break them, and consequently stop them from passing to the next generation. This is because you are most likely to have inherited or learned the same thinking patterns or coping mechanisms as your parents, so you have the power to change this for your future kids, which is one of the greatest and most impressive things about therapy.
If you are not sure whether you would benefit from counseling, consider this: The American Psychological Association suggests you may want to consider counseling or therapy when your emotions interfere with or cause distress in some part of your life. If you are spending more than an hour each day thinking about or coping with your feelings, if you avoid others because you can’t deal with your emotions, or if the quality of your life has decreased because of how you are feeling, then counseling could help you.
The use of biofeedback to improve emotional health
In therapy, it is common for licensed psychologists to use biofeedback. This technique can be used to improve your emotional regulation.
As you know, stress and anxiety come with physical symptoms, so it makes sense that with the management of these, you will improve your well-being and stabilize your emotional state. With biofeedback, you can learn to control some of your body’s functions by connecting to electrical sensors that help you receive information about your body.
The use of this technique will allow you to make and control subtle changes in your body, such as relaxing certain muscles to achieve a reduction of pain, which will give you a sense of emotional stability, and improve your health condition and physical performance.
Types of biofeedback
There are a few types of biofeedback, depending on your health problems and goals. These types include:
- Brain waves. It consists in monitoring your brain waves with an electroencephalograph (EEG).
- Breathing. It gives you respiratory feedback by placing bands around your abdomen and chest which helps monitor your breathing patterns and respiration rate.
- Heart rate. This type measures your heart rate and how it varies by using finger or earlobe sensors with a device that detects your blood volume changes.
- Muscle contraction. It consists in monitoring your muscle contractions. You can monitor the electrical activity that causes these contractions with the help of sensors placed over your skeletal muscles (electromyography).
- Sweat gland activity. Again, with sensors (electrodermograph) attached around your fingers or on your palm or wrist, you can measure the activity of your sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on your skin.
- Temperature. It’s important to measure your temperature because it often drops when you’re under stress. With sensors attached to your fingers or feet, you can measure the blood flow to your skin.
How does biofeedback work?
During the practice of biofeedback, your therapist/counselor, while attaching sensors to your body, depending on the types (see above), will monitor your brain waves, skin temperature, muscle tension, heart rate, and breathing. The changes will be indicated by changes on a monitor, a beeping sound, or a flashing light.
Understanding the feedback will enable you to learn how to change your body’s reactions by changing your thoughts, emotions, or behavior. Naturally, your therapist will guide you throughout this practice and teach you relaxation techniques.
To understand how this works, picture this example: the feedback can indicate tense muscles that are causing headaches. Afterward, you learn how to make deliberate physical changes in your body to reduce your pain, such as relaxing specific muscles.
Risks of biofeedback
The practice of biofeedback is generally safe, but not appropriate for everyone, precisely because the devices might not work properly on people with certain medical conditions (heart rhythm problems or certain skin conditions). So, check with your doctor before starting it.
Benefits of biofeedback
This technique besides providing control over your body’s functions has plenty of other benefits. First of all, it’s noninvasive; it can help reduce or eliminate the need for medications or even enhance the benefits of medications; it can be helpful for women who can’t take medication because of pregnancy, and it gives you the feeling of being more in control of your health.
Neuro Emotional Technique (NET)
Neuro emotional technique (NET) is another noninvasive technique not very different from biofeedback that can also improve your well-being. This technique is not counseling, but it’s something you can add to it. It focuses on the ‘physiology’ of emotional/stress responses. These are composed of complex reactive patterns of changes as a reaction to stimuli, namely changes in neurochemistry, neurology, and muscular tone. In counseling, you focus on your emotions and try to interpret them. However, NET focuses on the physical responses to them, not the actual emotions.
According to studies, the physiology of emotions lies in the brain, spine, nervous systems, and acupuncture circuits, but they affect all parts of the body.
This is a holistic approach that incorporates your mind and body, with the main goal of helping stress-related conditions, giving attention to imbalances in the skeletomuscular system, toxins in the body, nutritional deficits, and unresolved “negative emotional blocks”, beliefs and perceptions.
How does NET work?
NET uses manual muscle tests that identify “negative emotional complexes” stored in the body and helps resolve them. This test is generally performed on the arm and it shows body reflex points and physiological reactions to confirm the connections and existence of stuck emotions, negative emotions, stuck memory loops, stress patterns, lingering emotional charges, and memory pictures of unresolved events (real or imagined).
During this test, you will see that if anything impacts your health and body’s balance, your muscles, while having physical pressure applied, cannot hold their strength. What you can withdraw from this is that muscle power equals balance. For example, if pressure is applied to your arm while you are under a lot of stress, the muscles will weaken, and the arm will not resist the pressure. In opposition, if you are under less stress, your muscles are stronger and more able to resist the pressure applied during this treatment.
Benefits of NET
Life-changing results from this treatment have been felt by people who suffer chronically from:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Organ dysfunctions
- Digestive problems
- Hormonal and Endocrine imbalances
The physical benefits of NET come from its ability to access and ‘re-program’ the subconscious to produce a different conditioned response, to help to stop sabotaging behaviors, to help alleviate PTSD symptoms, to reduce anxiety, phobias, and worry by fixing neurological imbalances related to the physiology of unresolved stress.
Testimonies from people who felt NET’s benefits report an increased ability to achieve life dreams and desires, the capacity to identify limiting beliefs and understand their sources, and stronger and better relationships. Click on the following image to listen to a few testimonies.
Counseling is something that everyone should consider as it can only benefit you and prevent bad emotional prolonged states. However, it becomes vital to consider counseling when your emotions feel overwhelming to you, are causing you fatigue, are disproportionate to the triggering incident or are causing you to lose interest in your life and usual activities. If you have anxious thoughts that intrude on your ability to live an everyday life or feel hopeless, seeing a counselor can help you learn to manage your feelings and cope with your difficult emotions.
In addition to counseling, other techniques can bring a big improvement to your well-being, such as Biofeedback and neuro emotional technique, which are all about being able to gain more control over your health, by using the power of your mind and becoming aware of what’s going on inside your body.