Our society privileges the body and intellectual development over the spirit and emotions. We all know how to take care of our bodies and practice personal hygiene, but few know how to take care of their brains, psychological health, and emotional hygiene. We spend more time taking care of our teeth than our minds.
Guy Winch’s lecture “Why we all need to practice emotional hygiene” shows a behavioral trait that we have and do not perceive. Although science developed effective techniques for healing emotional wounds such as failure, rejection, or loneliness, we don’t give them much importance. But when the injury is physical, we take all the necessary care.
Dr. Winch gives an excellent example. If someone says he is depressed, people say: “Just shake it off; it’s all in your head!” While when someone says he hurt his leg, do people say the same thing? “Just shake it off; it’s all in your leg!”
Loneliness is a purely subjective feeling. Even if the person is surrounded by other people, they can feel lonely. If you feel emotionally or socially disconnected from those around you, you feel alone.
There is a lot of research about loneliness, and it is all scary. Loneliness not only makes you unhappy but will kill you. Chronic loneliness increases your chance of dying early by 14%. It increases your blood pressure and cholesterol. It also weakens the immune system. Loneliness is a significant risk to your health as cigarettes.
And if you don’t know that you have a mental problem, you can’t heal. That’s why it’s essential to spread the need for emotional hygiene.
Failure is another major emotional problem. We, adults, are deceived by our brains all the time by a series of emotional patterns. Some beliefs are triggered every time we run into obstacles or get frustrated.
If you believe you can’t overcome an obstacle, you really won’t. Emotion is fundamental for overcoming our limits and even for learning.
Do you know how your mind reacts to failure?
You should know. Because every time you believe that you cannot do something, you will become paralyzed, feel powerless, give up, or many times you won’t even try.
And these things will reinforce the idea that you are incapable. That is why so many people don’t reach their full potential.
Sometimes a simple failure is enough for you to no longer believe in your potential. And when you are convinced of something, it is complicated to change your mind.
It’s natural to feel defeated and demoralized after a failure. However, you should not be convinced that you cannot succeed. You have to fight against the feeling of incompetence, take control of the situation.
Our minds and emotions are not as reliable as we think they are. We have to identify when they are trying to support us and when they are trying to sabotage us.
The rejection is extremely painful. And the worse is that the rejected person is usually callous to himself; he thinks too negatively about the reasons he was dismissed. One starts thinking about their flaws, what they should be, and what they should not be.
And if the self-esteem is already low, this only makes the pain worse and worse. We wouldn’t make a physical wound more painful, but why do we make an emotional wound worse? Because we don’t learn how to do emotional hygiene.
When you are rejected, the first thing you should do is to recover your self-esteem. When you are in emotional pain, treat yourself with the same compassion you expect from a true friend.
Fight Negative Thinking
We need to change our bad emotional habits. One of the most common is rumination. Do you know when you think you shouldn’t have done something, and for days, weeks, you just can’t stop replaying the scene?
Ruminating past events can quickly become a habit. Spending too much time focusing on negative thoughts, we risk developing depression, alcoholism, eating disorders, and cardiovascular diseases.
Studies show that 2 minutes of distractions is enough to stop rumination. In weeks a new, more positive, and hopeful perspective on the problem will be created.
Practice Emotional Hygiene
Combat loneliness, change your response to failure, increase your self-esteem, and fight negative thoughts! You will not only heal emotional wounds, but you will build emotional resilience to overcome life’s challenges.
100 years ago, people started practicing personal hygiene, and life expectancy, after a few decades, increased by 50%. I believe that our quality of life could improve drastically if we started to practice emotional hygiene.Guy Winch
Watch Dr. Guy Winch’s keynote and be sure to practice emotional hygiene.
Special thanks to Tim Wilson, photos.
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