In society today, it is amazing how openly we have started to talk about our emotions and how we feel, and that this is being normalised. For me, there is always time for people to share how they feel, both positively and especially, negatively because these can influence your body. Naturally there are direct and indirect connections between your mental and physical state; on the surface your overall well-being and the way you feel is better when you are happy, and you have no physical pain or a low immune system.
Research has also shown that there is a direct correlation between mental and physical health in human beings, which includes that: people with mental health conditions are at a risk of experiencing chronic physical conditions and that people with chronic physical conditions are at risk of developing poor mental health (Source: Promoting mental health: concepts, emerging evidence practice: summary report by WHO). The cases do not necessarily need to be this extreme, and sometimes physical problems can be out of our control, but we can always try to improve our mental wellbeing.
How best to handle our emotions can be different for everyone, there is no right or wrong way, as we all deal with situations differently, or have different personalities, that's what makes the world an exciting place. The key for me personally, and something I am continuing to work on, is managing my emotions - this for me means that I try to remain quite balanced on both ends of the spectrum. Towards the end of my tennis career I got much better dealing with wins and losses; I tried my best to treat them the same - not getting to overexcited from the wins and still logically assessing what could have been better and then not too harsh on myself after a tough loss, still seeing positive things and what I could improve, how I was going to improve it and viewing it as an opportunity not a burden. I have now been able to transition that into my life after tennis with the “highs” and “lows” of everyday life.
I have used the word “balance” multiple times when talking about the management of emotions and by this, I mean, it's about channelling inner calmness to life. You can practice calmness through meditation and breathing practices >> . I like to meditate in the morning as it sets my calmness for the day and then practice breathing because if I feel myself getting agitated, I can use breathing to relax in that moment. The more focus you put on yourself, and feeling good and calm within yourself, your personal tolerance of negative things that can happen to you, is larger.
I think for 90% of people it is easier to be negative in good situations than positive in bad situations, so you should always look to be positive. Celebrate the wins in life, but don’t get carried away, because the “fall” can be bigger and then don’t get down on yourself in difficult moments because the climb back is steeper. A literal rollercoaster. When you do get down on yourself, or you feel yourself shifting that way, try to see it as an opportunity to find something positive, this is a way to grow and improve your reaction to situations. It can always happen that you get too negative, but what's important is how you get yourself out of it, what you learn from the situation and how you improve the next time a situation arises.
In my ‘Removing negativity’ blog >>, I look deeper into focusing on yourself, surrounding yourself with good people, and choosing wisely the scenarios you put yourself into, in a world that is full of negativity.
Of course, you want and strive to have a life full of positivity but in reality, there will never not be ups and downs. I envy anyone who can always be positive and upbeat, even when they are really going through life-changing, heart-breaking difficulties - this is a real asset, and these are people I love to be around. I also recognise that most people cannot do that and that's ok, if you can’t, it's about balance and management. This is truly achieved through practice and time, and may never be perfect but can always get better. It’s about working on yourself, so you are the best version of you, for you, and for the people around you, whilst also surrounding yourself with great people.