Emotional Hygiene

If you have ever flown on an airplane with the luxury of sitting First Class, you know the excitement of having 100+ movies to watch over the course of  your flight. All the latest movies are available to watch and I always find myself cuddling down with the cheap Polyester blanket and crying over some Nicholas Sparks movie. But, guess what else is available? TED Talks. How lame. But no, I love TED Talks. I remember one of the first TED Talks I ever watched was How I Hacked Online Dating. Then after that,  my teachers in school started showing TED Talks every once in a while. I cannot seem to find those Ted Talks online, but I do remember they were really good. If you don’t know what TED is, here ya go:

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world, (TED.com).

I came across this speech: Guy Winch: Why we all need to practice emotional first aid. Guy is a psychologist and believes highly of practicing emotional hygiene. His words really opened my eyes to the biggest flaw in human kind: We treat physical injuries more than we treat psychological injuries. He is right. We do value the body more than we value the mind.

Image result for body mind

Have you ever been sad, depressed or lonely and someone just told you to “shake it off?” Oh how I would love to just shake it off! But we can’t just shake off our mental injuries. Just like a broken leg, arm, knee surgery, it takes time to heal. When we ignore our emotional health the problem gets worse.

“We know from dozens of studies that when your self-esteem is lower, you are more vulnerable to stress and to anxiety, that failures and rejections hurt more and it takes longer to recover from them.When you’re in emotional pain, treat yourself with the same compassion you would expect from a truly good friend. We have to catch our unhealthy psychological habits and change them.”

Guy talks in depth about loneliness. The big L. One of the scariest emotional disorders we people can have. Believe it or not- it can kill you.

Chronic loneliness increases your likelihood of an early death by 14 percent. Loneliness causes high blood pressure, high cholesterol. It even suppress the functioning of your immune system, making you vulnerable to all kinds of illnesses and diseases. In fact, scientists have concluded that taken together, chronic loneliness poses as significant a risk for your long term health and longevity as cigarette smoking.” 

Loneliness makes everything worse. It has the power to shut you down, even when you need power the most. One of the most simple tasks in life is phoning a friend. Yet when loneliness strikes it is impossible to even do so. The big L is funny like that. You need people the most, yet your mind won’t allow you to reach out. Cigarette companies are nice enough to say on their package that smoking will kill you. Loneliness does not come with that nice little heads up. Which is why it is so important to take care of our mental injuries. For me, the top 3 things I do for myself is:

  1. Get enough sleep. I am not kidding you, life will fall apart (or so it seems) when you do not get enough sleep. As intricate and advanced as our brains are, they need a break. Sure sure, when we are sleeping our brains are still working- BUT, the brain works differently at night. Give your brain the time to rejuvenate itself.
  2. Eat. Sometimes I cannot stress this enough. Everyone in the world is caught up in the notion of food = enemy. I hate this. Our bodies literally need food to function. The body is the temple in the center of the Earth. Take care of it. Your head will hurt, you will be tired, and you will be really crabby if you don’t eat. Just eat. You will feel better.
  3. Become your own best friend. According to Guy, “Loneliness depends solely on whether you feel emotionally or socially disconnected from those around you.” I’ll say it: you need to learn to live with yourself. There will be times when your friends and family won’t be there to pick you up when you are down. You are always going to have yourself. Fall in love with yourself, and you will always have someone there. 

In the end, all I want you to take away is treat psychological injuries in the same respect as physical injuries. Don’t ignore them, treat them. One day at a time.

Thank you so much.







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