Emotional Well-being: A to Z of Word Meanings

You can search for anything linked to emotional well‑being in our handy A-Z guide.



Eating well and mental health

There are several different types of eating problems, sometimes called disorders, but really what it means is using food to help us deal with difficult feelings or things. There are several types of eating problems including: deliberately not eating enough food (Anorexia Nervosa), eating loads of food at once (Binge Eating), or eating lots of food and then being sick or taking laxatives (Bulimia)

Eating a healthy amount regularly is important for both your physical health and emotional well-being. It’s really important if you feel you may have an eating problem to talk to someone, as the problem could become worse and cause long term health and life issues and in some cases can be life threatening.

Further information and some real life experiences of eating disorders can be found at Childline, The Mix, at Headmeds and B-Eat.

On the RC Psych website, there is information on eating well and mental health and eating disorders.

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Emergency or Crisis

A crisis is when everything is too much, out of control, unsafe, terrifying, when someone is very unwell, or when someone just can’t manage. It can be a time when a person is a risk to themselves or someone else. It is an emergency.

In an emergency a person can contact 999 to get support from doctors or police, or they can speak urgently to someone who they trust – this could be a friend, carer or family member, a professional like a counsellor, youth worker, teacher or tutor, or they can ring Childline on 0800 1111 or the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. It could be they have been through this before and have a key worker they can contact or an “emergency” plan which they should follow.

If people face emergencies it can really help to carry a “card” which tells people about any condition or problem they may have and what they would like them to do to help. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a simple piece of paper with some information about who a person trusts to help and their contact details, and any advice on how a person can help best. (e.g. what to say / what not to say)

Making a “emergency card” is something proactive you can do to be sure you get the help you need and deserve if an emergency happens.

To find out more about help in London, or to find a template to help you make an emergency or “crisis” card, you can visit My Health London.

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Emotional Fitness

Being Emotionally fit is sometimes called resilience. Resilience is about having the strength, knowledge, power, skill and mindset to manage the challenges life throws your way. Being resilient means being mentally and physically strong enough to handle the everyday challenges and changes in life (with the help of others).

The more resilient we are the easier it can be to deal with problems, events, and illness, and it’s something we can build on throughout our lives.

You can build resilience by

  • Keeping physically healthy (exercise, diet, sleep) – avoiding too many toxic substances like cigarettes, drugs and alcohol
  • Spending as much time as possible with people who value you and avoiding spending time with those that “steal your energy” or make you feel bad
  • Learning from previous experiences (yours and other peoples) – what went wrong, what could have gone better
  • Being kind to yourself in how you talk to yourself – would you criticise other people in the same way
  • Accepting we are all learning and none of us perfect
  • Recognising when you do well
  • Practising responses to situations
  • Trying new things to find out what you like, what you are good at and what you want
  • Knowing what is important to you (not what people tell you is important) – this can help guide you to make the right decisions and take the right actions when life throws a curve ball your way.
  • Being willing to ask for help and support, and knowing who you could approach locally if you needed help
  • Practising talking about your feelings, needs and wishes, and saying no when you want to
  • Learning to relax. Time relaxing is not time wasted
  • Aiming for a good balance in life – it’s not all about work or play!
  • Taking breaks (either in scenery, headspace, or a holiday)
  • Having hugs (where everyone is happy to have one)
  • Volunteering and supporting others
  • Getting creative to express and think about feelings and to have fun
  • Learning and reading. Not necessarily like school learning, but keep an open mind, ask questions about everything, try new things, read books, blogs or watch films. There are ideas in everything that help us manage life.

Take a look at our 'Happiness' section for more helpful advice.

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Exercise and mental health

Our body and mind work together to run the machine that is us. For the whole thing to work at all we need to keep all the different parts well-oiled and maintained. Though the body and mind can do amazing things, the more we can do to help it along the better.

Exercise is a big player in keeping ourselves emotionally or mentally healthy.

Even a bit of regular exercise can:

  • reduce stress
  • reduce depression
  • make us feel more confident
  • improve the way our brain works
  • improve memory
  • improve concentration
  • help us relax
  • help us be more productive
  • help us socialise
  • reduce our chances of illness
  • help us socialise and connect with people

Exercise does not have to involve doing traditional sports, though it can. The most important thing is to find something you like to do – from gardening to aerobics, free running to basketball, swimming to football. Active volunteering can also be a real boost.

For a list of ideas and how to get started (even if you've never done activity in your life) visit RC Psych.

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If you still have unanswered questions, you can go to a service in your area for information & advice:

Choose your area from the list below