Why Practicing Emotional Hygiene?

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We spend a lot of our time taking care of our bodies. But what about our emotional hygiene? Do we take care about our emotions and our minds with the same diligence as we take care of our bodies? You probably have the answer to this question. What is obvious is that since we were child we have never been taught to deal with our emotions.
Psychologist Guy Winch in one of the TED talks explains the danger of ignoring our emotional hygiene. After 9 years of studies he discovered that there are some responses of our minds that are playing dangerous games with us. And there are certain habits that we should start practicing in order to be emotionally healthy, the same way as we have a habit to brush our teeth.
What are these “dangerous” responses?
According to Guy Winch, the most common is our

response to FAILURE.

Are we aware of how our brain responds to failure? He states that majority of people functioning below their actual potential, just because single failure in their lives convinced them of something that they are not capable to do.

Our mind is hard to change, once we are convinced about something.

You might have tried once, and you failed. But the question is – did you believe that you are not good enough? And you stopped trying? This is when your mind convinced you that this is not worth trying again.
As a response to failure, Guy Winch explains that:
  • We cannot allow ourselves to become convinced of not being successful
  • We need to fight our feelings of helplessness – we are responsible for our success
  • We need to gain control over the situation  – we can prepare better, learn and try again
I am sure we can find more than one situation in our life where we tried and failed, and instead of learning and trying again, we simply stop trying.

Next, is our response to REJECTION.

The important here is to protect our self-esteem after we have been rejected. At work, in love, in life! This is happening, and if we cannot control the outside circumstances, what we can – is control our reactions to rejection. What many of us do instead? Instead of reviving ourselves after difficult situations, some of us join the “fight club” which is fighting against us with thoughts such as “its my fault, I wish I did this, I am not worth it, etc.” Again, this is your mind fighting against you, after your self-esteem has been damaged by outside rejection. Are you joining the “fight club” or “fans club”: “I am not worth it” vs. “I respect and love myself enough to let it go, learn the lesson and start again”. Which one do you choose?

And finally, RUMINATION.

That day you felt horrible. You clearly remember the situation, what they said about your work, with that tone of voice. And the following week – you spend  replaying the same scene in your head, again and again. “Searching” for the answer. This is a habit that we should spot and eliminate from our minds. Guy Winch explains that 2 minute of distraction helps. Every time we start to overthink, analyzing out of  the different perspective the same negative situation, its time to practice 2 minutes exercise – concentrating on our breathing for example, looking at the photos of our family members, practicing yoga. After 2 minutes, the will to replay the same negative situation, will disappear. This is about putting it into practice.
Do you feel familiar with any of the above responses of your mind?
How often do you join a personal “fight club”?
By protecting our self-esteem, by changing responses to failures and by battling negative thinking we create the life we want to live. Lets increase quality of our lives by practicing emotional hygiene.
With love,
Jelena
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