Having studied emotionally healthy people for more than two decades, I have noticed some consistent habits that allow them to prevent these undesirable emotions from dominating their lives. Developing these habits will enable you, too, to live an emotionally healthy life:
Habit Number 1: Accept yourself unconditionally.
- Recognize that, like everyone else, you are not perfect.
- Recognize that you are a work in progress and that God is working to conform you into the image of Jesus ("I am certain that he who began a good work within you will continue his work until until it's finally finished on the day when Jesus returns." (Philippians 1:6 NLT)
- Avoid labeling yourself, e.g. failure, loser, procrastinator, hopeless, stupid, etc.
- Never confuse your performance with who you are.
- Never dwell on your past mistakes.
- Never compare yourself to others.
- Never make statements that indicate a lack of self-acceptance, e.g. "I wish I were taller, shorter/thinner/smarter, etc.
- Replace thoughts of nonacceptance of yourself with appropriate Bible verses, e.g. "Iam fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14 NIV),"I am God's masterpiece. He has created me anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do the good things he planned for me long ago." (Ephesians 2:10 NLT),"I have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrificing his body once and for all." (Hebrews 10:10 GW)
Note: See additional verses in my book, The Power to Rejoice: 21 Days to Victory Over Your Problems at https://www.vernonlwilliams.com/collections/books/products/the-power-to-rejoice-21-days-to-victory-over-your-problems-physical-book
"Change is possible, but it must start with self-acceptance."
- Alexander Lowen
Habit Number 2: Accept others unconditionally.
- Recognize that, like you, no one is perfect.
- Never label others, e.g. inconsiderate, dumb, lazy, stupid, overbearing, etc.
- Never confuse people's performance with who they are.
- Never make "should/should not" statements e.g. "My spouse should/should not...", "My boss should/should not...", "My co-workers should/should not.....", My siblings should/should not..., etc."
- Instead of "should/should not" statements, use "preference" statements, e.g. "I would prefer that my spouse/boss/co-workers/siblings, etc. ...."
- Replace thoughts of nonacceptance of others with appropriate Bible verses, e.g. "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37 NIV); "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13 NIV); "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (James 1:19 NIV)
Habit Number 3: Accept life unconditionally.
- Recognize that we live in a fallen, sinful world.
- Never make "should/should not" statements e.g. "Life should be comfortable and problem-free", "My company should not have laid me off", "My loved one should not have died so soon", etc."
- Instead of "should/should not" statements, use "preference" statements, e.g. "I would prefer my life to be comfortable and problem-free" "I would prefer to not have been laid off.", "I would prefer that my loved one lived longer", etc.
- Replace thoughts of nonacceptance of life with appropriate Bible verses, e.g. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 TLB); "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (Isaiah 26:3 NIV); "In all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 NIV); "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4)
- Repeat the complete Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.