The best measure of emotional health is:
How well do we handle the problems and opportunities we face in our
If you are extremely neurotic
but you've found a way to survive a difficult life,
you are far healthier
than those who avoid such labels
only because they have had easier lives.
THE BIG THREE
The three most important signs of emotional health are:
Spontaneity, Intimacy, and Awareness.
Spontaneity refers to the immediacy with which we express
If you usually "think first" before you speak,
or if you always "wait" before taking action,
you are not very spontaneous.
Being spontaneous shows that we trust who we are.
"How often do I just react to things, without thinking?"
If you answer "almost always,"
and you seldom get into big trouble when you react,
you are spontaneous and very healthy emotionally.
Intimacy refers to being able to feel safe when we are
close to others.
If you usually look away when people look at you,
or if you are often lonely,
you are not very intimate.
Being intimate shows we trust ourselves, and others, socially.
"How often do I feel completely safe when I look into other people's
If you answer "almost always,"
and you are seldom hurt by unsafe people,
you are intimate and very healthy emotionally.
Awareness refers to our ability to see and hear clearly
and to believe what we see and hear.
If you often doubt your own perception of people and situations
you are not very aware
(or you are very aware and don't know it - a common problem).
Being aware shows we are alert,
rather than mentally preoccupied.
"How often do I think I am wrong about my perceptions?"
and "How often do I ask other people to confirm my perceptions and
If you answer "almost never,"
and you seldom misread truly important situations,
you are aware and very healthy emotionally.
OTHER SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL HEALTH: A CHECKLIST
Can You Answer "Yes" To These Questions?
___ Are you usually energetic (not frenetic)?
___ Do you seldom make comparisons between yourself and others (less
than once a day)?
___ Do you laugh genuinely and often (many times most days)?
___ Are you a "self-starter"?
___ Are you quick and appropriate with your anger?
___ Are you slowed down significantly by depression less than two days
___ Do you almost never feel guilty?
___ Do you have a good, long-lasting relationship with your partner?
___ Do you have good, long-lasting friendships (at least two or three)?
___ Do you almost never spend social or family time with people who
___ Do you seldom regret your decisions?
___ Do you make most decisions quickly?
___ Is your sex life exciting?
___ Do you recognize sadness, anger, scare, joy, and excitement easily
___ Are you seldom told that you are controlling or manipulative?
___ Do you never wonder if you abuse alcohol or other drugs?
___ Do you know you could survive and thrive (after a long grieving
period) even if you lost all the important people in your life?
___ Do you make friends easily?
___ Are you seldom thought of as bigoted?
EVALUATING YOUR RESULTS
Each "Yes" is a remarkable achievement accomplished
by a small percentage of people!
Complement yourself sincerely and proudly for every "yes" on
Each "No" is a way that you are "about average"
in this culture.
Read each "no" again and say:
"I could improve this if I wanted to!"
Decide whether to change by deciding
how much emotional pain your problems cause
for you and for those you love.
Then, if you are not successful on your own,
decide whether to work on these problems in therapy
by weighing this pain against the various costs involved
(financial, time, privacy, inconvenience, etc.).
Please Tell Your Friends About
Enjoy Your Changes!
Everything here is designed to help you do just that!
Write To Me, I Want To Hear From You!
Tony Schirtzinger, Therapist (Milwaukee)
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