13.5 Maintaining Emotional Health

Emotional regulation is the ability to successfully control our emotions, which takes effort, but the ability to do so can have important positive health outcomes. Emotional responses such as the stress reaction are useful in warning us about potential danger and in mobilizing our response to it, so it is a good thing that we have them. However, we also need to learn how to control and regulate our emotions, to prevent them from letting our behavior get out of control.600

Stress may not be a disorder, but if it continues and becomes more intense and debilitating, it may lead to a disorder. We experience stress in our everyday lives, including daily hassles. People who experience strong negative emotions as a result of these hassles, exhibit negative stress responses. Stress can be managed by using coping strategies and by becoming better at emotional regulation. The best antidote for stress is to think positively, have fun, and enjoy the company of others. People who express optimism, self-efficacy, and grit tend to cope better with stress and experience better health overall.601