Developing Mental Health Awareness with Emotional Intelligence
May brings National Mental Health Awareness Month, and this reminds each of us to take a moment and reflect on our own mental health. Reconnecting to our emotional state can be one of the most powerful tools to maintain healthy mental health. This emotional recognition helps to develop a sense of emotional awareness and is often referred to as emotional intelligence (EI or EQ). Most days we go through the day without noticing how we feel, unless we make a point to stop what we are doing and check in with ourselves. It almost takes moments of silence, mindfulness, or a conscious decision to see what feelings lie beneath the surface. Taking just a moment to pay attention to our feelings or even someone else’s feelings can truly improve our daily functioning.
In developing emotional intelligence, we create an ability to recognize and manage our daily emotions. The more we practice EI, the easier it becomes to regulate emotions, which contributes to a more balanced mental well-being, (Develop Your Emotional Intelligence to Give Your Mental Wellbeing a Boost). To practice EI, we simply need to identify the emotions we are feeling by doing a self-reflection or even an emotional check-in. Secondly, use the emotions you feel to promote certain thoughts, (i.e. a sad mood can promote analytical thinking and a happy mood can often encourage creative thinking). Next, we begin to understand our feelings and what exactly contributes to the way we feel. Lastly, we want to manage our emotions and do what is necessary to regulate the feelings we are experiencing, (Develop Your Emotional Intelligence to Give Your Mental Wellbeing a Boost).
We all have decisions that we have made in the past and later thought… “What was I thinking?” A lack of emotional intelligence could be to blame for these bad decisions. When we make emotional decisions versus intellectual decisions, many times we regret the outcomes. EI can help us identify, process, and manage emotions in the most efficient and positive way. When our practice of EI becomes stronger, we can see benefits such as our ability to, “Communicate better, reduce their anxiety and stress, defuse conflicts, improve relationships, empathize with others and effectively overcome life’s challenges,” (Durlofsky, 2015). Developing this self-awareness with emotional intelligence helps create intention, autonomy, and purpose in our thoughts and behaviors. Then we are able to make more effective decisions and take appropriate action when needed.
Emotions truly are a fundamental part of the human experience and having the ability recognize and deal with emotions can impact some major areas of our lives. These benefits can be felt in our work-life, personal and professional relationships, and our physical health. Even if we just take a moment to listen to our emotions each day, this emotional awareness can reduce our stress level, help us communicate better with others, and boost our social skills.
Written by Angela Gray Salyers, MA, MS, LPC
Pine Grove Business Development Coordinator
About Angela Gray Salyers, Business Development Coordinator
Angela Gray Salyers is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Mississippi and Alabama and she earned an International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium as an Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She works as a Business Development Coordinator with Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she conducts clinical assessments for all of the organization’s service lines. Additionally, Ms. Salyers educates professionals from throughout the country about Pine Grove’s nationally recognized and respected treatment programs. Prior to working in Business Development, she worked with Pine Grove as an Outreach Coordinator within Alabama and the Mississippi Gulf Coast regions from 2017-2019. Ms. Salyers earned her undergraduate degree in Dance Education and Paralegal Studies from The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. She earned her Master’s degree in General Psychology from Pace University, New York, NY, and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of West Alabama in Livingston, AL. Ms. Gray is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-500) with Yoga Alliance and currently teaches in Fairhope, AL. She has professional experience working with the HIV/AIDS population in a Ryan White Clinic, where she provided psychosocial evaluations, counseling, and case management services. Ms. Salyers also worked as a Residential Coordinator, caring for patients with chemical dependency at a residential addiction treatment center in Spanish Fort, AL. She is a member of the Alabama Counseling Association, Alabama Alcohol and Drug Association, Faces and Voices of Recovery, and serves on the Steering Committee for The Gulf Coast Conference.
About Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services
Located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services is one of the nation’s most comprehensive treatment campuses. Pine Grove’s world renowned programs treat gender specific chemical addiction including specialized tracks for co-occurring eating disorders, compulsive behaviors, trauma, and mental health. Additionally, Pine Grove offers an Intensive Outpatient substance abuse healing program for adults and a separate treatment track for those age 55 plus. Other Pine Grove specialty programs include a dedicated professional’s treatment curriculum and a comprehensive evaluation center. Pine Grove also features a program for patients with sexual addiction. Inpatient Services including an Adult Psychiatric Unit, along with a Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Unit, and Outpatient Services are other components. Pine Grove is a division of Forrest Health, a partnership of healthcare organizations across South Mississippi, and the behavioral healthcare extension of Forrest General Hospital. Established in 1984, Pine Grove has provided nationally and internationally recognized health care for 39 years. For more information about Pine Grove, please visit www.pinegrovetreatment.com and call 1-888-574-HOPE (4673).
Develop Your Emotional Intelligence to Give Your Mental Wellbeing a Boost. HealthHub. (n.d.). https://www.healthhub.sg/livehealthy/579/mental_health_emotional_intelligence_pdf.
Durlofsky, P. (2015, October 29). https://psychcentral.com/blog/thebenefits-of-emotional-intelligence#1.
Mental Health Awareness Month. NAMI. (n.d.). https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Mental-Health- Awareness-Month.