Two older women show an emotional connection in the way they stand and share contact.

Learning disabilities: emotions and relationships

Keeping emotions in check and having good relationships with friends, family and colleagues are essential for everyone's overall happiness and wellbeing, and people with learning disabilities are no different. Managing the ebbs and flows of your emotions may not be easy, especially if your learning disability has a significant impact on the way you process information and interpret the world around you. The Managing Social-Emotional Issues of Adults with Learning Disabilities section of the Learning Disabilities Association of America website has some very helpful advice. 

Emotional wellbeing

Emotional wellbeing is a general sense of feeling good within yourself and able to cope with the stresses of daily life.

Learning disability and emotions  

Understanding the role your learning disability plays in your emotions is vital. If you can truly appreciate the impact your learning disability has on how you feel and how you relate to others, you will be well on your way. 

Understanding and managing stress

The frustration of daily life for many people with learning disabilities can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. Left alone, these feelings can lead to depression. Being aware of the things that cause you stress is really important. You may not be able to avoid them, but sometimes changing your attitude towards them is enough.

Knowing how stress impacts on you and those around you will help you make decisions about how you handle it.

Behaving respectfully

Being respectful to yourself and other people is key to maintaining good relationships. If you treat others the way you would like to be treated by them, this will stand you in good stead.

A key part of being respectful is maintaining your integrity and dignity in your interactions with other people.

Some helpful advice can be found in the Five steps to mental wellbeing section of the NHS Choices website

Relationships with friends, family and colleagues

Maintaining good relationships is hard work for most people, and people with learning disabilities face some additional challenges.

The 9 Ways to Keep Your Challenges From Affecting Your Relationships article on the Understood website has some really helpful strategies.

Some other useful resources are:

For more information on connecting with loved ones and people you care about—and who care about you—visit the Emotional wellbeing section of Jewish Care Interact.

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