What do we all do when we get a cut on our finger or sprain in our ankle? We reach out for a band- aid or go to the doctor if the injury is more severe. Unfortunately a lot of us, aren’t so kind when it comes to taking care of our emotional or psychological injuries. Yes, it about the Emotional hygiene am talking about.
These injuries can come in the form of failure, rejection, loneliness or loss. These negative experiences though common, can sometimes have a devastating impact on our emotional health, especially if swept under the carpet.
The impact of Neglecting Emotional hygiene
The experience of failure, like that of failing an exam can trigger a default set of beliefs in us depending on our experiences in childhood, which once triggered, make us feel helpless and prevents us from trying to succeed.
Loneliness is the unpleasant emotional experience of feeling disconnected from the world. Studies show that chronic loneliness puts us at increased risk for depression and even cardio-vascular problems, posing an even greater risk than smoking.
Some of these injuries may be even more relevant in metropolitan cities, with fast changing social dynamics and increasing influence of media. They can prevent people from sharing their true emotions and feelings, which is vital to feeling connected.
Experiences of rejection such as rejection in a job interview or the break-up of a relationship can have deep emotional impact that can damage self – esteem.
Why is it important to have healthy practices to deal with these injuries? This is because these injuries tend to distort our perceptions and leads us into a negative spiral, in effect infecting these injuries, eventually putting us at greater risk for psychological disorders.
What can we do to create a buffer against these injuries spiralling out of control?
First and foremost, give as much priority to psychological health as you give to your physical health. Since we can’t solve a problem until we know what it is, paying attention to the emotional pain is the first step to practicing emotional hygiene. Become aware of your thinking when failure or rejection strikes you, so as to fight the negative cycle before it begins.
According to psychologists one important technique to deal with the pain of rejection, and to boost self-esteem is to use:
- Self-affirmation– this involves statements of affirmation that are specific to you and are generated by you. For instance after getting rejected at a job interview instead of telling yourself “ I am smart” or “I am intelligent” write down specific qualities that you have that you believe are valuable for the job such “ I am sincere at what I do” “I am a fast learner”. Although it may sound counterintuitive but using general statements like “I am smart” or ‘I will be successful’ or ‘I am attractive’ can make you feel worse. Social psychologists tell us that persuasion works best when statements fall within the boundaries of your own belief system, otherwise they will be rejected.
The other Healthy habits of Emotional hygiene include:
- Avoiding rumination – Ruminating or going over what went wrong repeatedly can slow down healing and compound the negative thoughts. When you get the urge to ruminate, distract yourself immediately with something that requires concentration like a puzzle or a work deadline. DO it until the urge passes. Studies reveal that even a two minute distraction is sufficient to stop this urge in the moment.
- Protecting your self-esteem through self- compassion: Instead of using self- sabotaging statements like “I am stupid” “I will never succeed” talk yourself like you would talk to your best friend if they were facing a hard time. Be kind and gentle with yourself.
If you feel constantly lonely take action to create more opportunities for social interaction such reaching out to a friend instead of the TV, joining a club that helps you cultivate your own interests, before the problem becomes more chronic.
Recognizing what is happening can help jolt you out of apathy and take appropriate action in time or at least make you more open to seek help.
If you want to learn more about Emotional hygiene or have any query do mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, visit us at Cadabam’s Hospitals or call us at our 24/7 helpline number- +91 97414 76476.