Become emotionally fitter

Mental healthHealth TipsFebruary 29, 2024

“Empowering yourself is an essential component to building mental strength and creating the kind of life you want” – Amy Morin, psychotherapist and keynote speaker of one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.

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Your mental and emotional health are every bit as important as your physical health. Just as you can take steps to improve your physical wellbeing, there are steps to boost and strengthen your emotional wellbeing as well.

Being emotionally healthy doesn’t mean instant or permanent happiness. It means that you can control and understand your emotions and have the resilience to deal with the negative ones.

Mind over matter may be a cliché, but it is relevant in changing how you think and feel.

In her TED Talk, Amy Morin speaks of the need to rid ourselves of unhealthy beliefs:

1. About ourselves

2. About others

3. About the world.

Self-pity, or ‘magnifying your misfortune’, is one of these unhealthy beliefs. This allows people around you to influence how you feel about yourself, taking away your power and your choice.

For example: As you’re drinking your morning coffee, you scroll through social media. You see a post from a friend on an overseas holiday, another from their cousin who just got their PhD, and a third from an ex who has just started their own business. You start to feel deflated as you head toward a somewhat humdrum day at work.

Through self-pity and comparisons, you have allowed the actions of others to diminish how you feel about yourself. This is an unhealthy emotional state.

Here’s another scenario: You’re pumped to go into work. Today is the day you expect the announcement of your promotion to vice president – you’ve put in the time and really feel like you deserve it. The announcement you get, however, is about cost cutting, company restructure and possible retrenchment.

Of course, this situation is disappointing. But you allow that intense disappointment to soon give way to anger, apathy and disinterest in your job – making you even more likely to not make the cut.

This is another unhealthy belief: expecting success to fall into your lap – and then being angry at the world when it doesn’t go your way.

In her TEDx talk, Morin argued that even one or two small negative mental habits, like those mentioned above, can significantly hold you back. Giving up these beliefs is the first step we can take towards mental strength. She recommends these five tips to emotional fitness:

1. Counter your unhealthy beliefs with positive ones.

2. Work through uncomfortable emotions, like grief or depression – don’t ignore them.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others.

4. Accept that life isn’t fair.

5. Set yourself a goal and start it today. Even if it’s just one small step.

In her article “Nine Ways You Can Improve Your Mental Health Today”, featured in Psychology Today, Patricia Harteneck supports these recommendations, with some additional suggestions:

Address how you speak to yourself.

Instead of berating yourself, turn your negative self-talk into pep talks that provide feelings of self-worth and personal power.

Try a gratitude list.

Increase your sense of gratitude by listing things you are grateful for can be valuable steps towards positive mental health and happiness. Try keeping a gratitude list on your fridge or your desk at work where you can see them every day.

Be present in the moment.

Focusing on right now – sensations, sounds, smells and tastes – allows us to release negative emotions from past experiences. This can be challenging in a noisy, busy environment, so try to find a quiet space once or twice a day where you can focus.


When it all seems like too much, take some time to close your eyes and take ten deep breaths. This may be all you need to refocus and address what it was that had your blood pressure rising in the first place. You could always try a breathing exercise in the LiveWell App, download the app here.

Good emotional health is a skill that takes practice. We might not rid ourselves of all negative emotions overnight, but learning how to stay resilient in our low moments can be a very useful skill. Learning how to maintain control of your emotions could be all that’s holding you back, so give it a go!