Life’s challenges affect not only our mental and physical health but our emotional well-being as well. To understand your level of emotional wellness, ask yourself: how do you handle the stresses in your life? Do you allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions as they come, or do you shut down when things get stressful? How you handle your emotions through the peaks and valleys in life reflects your overall emotional health. Being aware of your emotions, understanding and accepting your feelings can help you cultivate emotional wellness.

Your emotional wellness can absolutely change over time, as you learn new ways to navigate the tough stuff. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, consider implementing these ways to improve your emotional health and wellness.

1. Build up your resilience. Some people can survive just about anything life throws at them — and even thrive through difficult times. Learning how to be resilient and “bounce back” after adversity is a practiced effort in coping with life’s challenges.

2. Prioritize quality sleep. You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating: getting a good night’s sleep is vital to your well-being. It helps you stay focused, feel energized and ready to handle what comes your way.

3. Reduce stress. Easier said than done, right? But experts say that lasting stress that long surpasses its purpose of spurring action can be harmful on many levels.

4. Spend time with loved ones. Social connections are empowering in many ways, and can give you the boost you need to navigate through the ups and downs of life. Our connections can help build strong support systems and help us stay healthier and happier.

5. Be mindful. The idea of mindfulness is simple — just take in your surroundings, being aware of what’s going on inside you and around you. Making mindfulness a daily practice can be a challenge, but the payoffs, like reduced anxiety, increased satisfaction in life and improved sleep, are worth the commitment.

Being kind to yourself and gentle as you experience a multitude of emotions can help improve your emotional wellness, and in turn, your overall health.

5 strategies to improve emotional wellness