At this point, you probably are well versed with the term ‘Personal hygiene’ but little do we talk about something called ‘Emotional Hygiene’. Emotional hygiene is, as Tedx speaker Dr. Guy Winch stated “Being mindful of our psychological health and adopting brief daily habits to monitor and address our psychological wounds”.
We all know how to treat a physical wound but little do we know about how we are supposed to treat an emotional wound.
Every time we get physically injured, we disinfect the wound and apply an ointment or a suitable dressing to it rather than scratching or picking at it and making it worse. We aim to make it better.
When it comes to emotional wounds, we do the exact opposite! Instead of making an effort to heal, we make it much worse.
Instead of cleaning the wound and dressing it, we keep picking at it and poking it. We end up making it much worse than it originally was. For example, Rejection- when we face rejection, we start harboring emotions like guilt, sadness, and then blame, thus making us feel bad about ourselves.
Why should we practice emotional hygiene?
We need to keep track of our emotional well being just like we keep track of our physical health. We keep our bodies clean, go for regular check-ups, take care of any wounds and injuries, but, what do we do with our psychological state?
We constantly indulge in negative self-talk, have negative thoughts, and ear down our own self-confidence. This can take a toll on our mental health. Just like physical bleeding can cause serious damage to our body, emotional bleeding can cause serious problems as well.
Therefore, it is important to practice good emotional hygiene. You can practice good emotional hygiene by taking the following steps.
1. Find out where it hurts
Sounds obvious, right? To fix it, you need to first find out where the problem is. Whenever you feel a negative emotion, you should first ask yourself why you feel this way. Like I always say, a little self-introspection goes a long way. Recognize your emotions when you are in emotional pain.
Ask yourself what you exactly feel and what made you feel this way? Either you can reach out and talk to a friend or consider getting professional help from a qualified doctor. It’s important to talk about your feelings and get the required help. This way you will be able to recognize your emotions and maybe find out why they got triggered in the first place.
2. Soothe your wounds
Once you recognize your emotional wound, it’s time to soothe it. Remember to be gentle with yourself. You need to be compassionate. You need to stop blaming yourself. You need to stop comparing yourself with others or think any low of yourself in any way. You need to realize you are a complete person who just needs some help right now. You need to have positive thoughts about yourself in order to build your own self-esteem. Steer your mind away from negative thoughts and realize everything will be fine.
You can start by relaxing yourself, by doing something you enjoy. It could even be something as simple as having a cup of tea.
3. Do not reminisce- Replace negative thoughts with positive ones
Do not reminisce about past experiences. It is natural to think about negative experiences as we are conditioned this way. All this while we have been taught to blame ourselves. We hold ourselves responsible for things that are out of control. We need to battle our negative thoughts.
Create positive distractions for yourself. Think about how you have learned from your experiences and will not repeat the same mistakes again. Ruminating on your past experiences can also put a bad impact on your health and make you vulnerable to depression.
4. Do not poke at your emotional wounds
Just like physical wounds, emotional wounds take time to heal as well. So, it is better you just let them heal just like you would do to a physical wound. Do not indulge in negative self-talk, or drown yourself in self-pity. The only thing to bring back from past experience is what you have learned out of it.
5. Take initiative in the healing process
It is only you who can heal your emotional wounds. So, it is up to you to take initiative and do what is best for you to maintain good emotional hygiene. Practice emotional first aid whenever you bleed emotionally, soothe the wound, keep negative and destructive thoughts at bay and let the positive thoughts flow in. There are little steps you can take every day to maintain good emotional hygiene.
Our body and mind are interconnected and are also in equilibrium. This is why changes in mental health and physical health impact each other. Therefore, along with maintaining physical health, we should also maintain our emotional well being.
Feeling low for a prolonged period of time can put a negative impact on our physical health as well. Prolonged emotional bleeding can make you vulnerable to many illnesses, such as depression and several cardiovascular diseases.
Hence, maintaining good physical hygiene along with good emotional hygiene will ensure a better quality of life. Also, check How to stop overthinking and conquer your mind.