What does your emotional hygiene look like?


In his Ted Talk on the subject, psychologist Guy Winch advocates for the transformative impact emotional hygiene can have on an individual. In his talk, Dr. Winch highlights the disconnect society has when it comes to physical care versus psychological care. Many people are adept at physical care and understand the importance of treating physical injuries. At the same time, we are unlikely to care for our psychological injuries. 

The psychological injuries Dr. Winch brings up are failure, rejection, and loneliness. These are all topics that society has begun to approach, but arguably not in the form of emotional hygiene. 

The first step in emotional hygiene is to pay attention to emotional pain. Emotional pain, such as loneliness is a subjective experience for an individual. And research on the subject shows that chronic loneliness increases blood pressure, weakens immune systems, and increases chance of death. The serious ramifications of negative emotional states is a powerful reason to be aware of maintenance. 

The second step in emotional hygiene is to stop emotional bleeding. When it comes to situational factors such as failure or rejection, Dr. Winch touches on what our reactions are. How your mind reacts to failure, and the subsequent cycle created by this reaction can become a downward spiral rapidly. 

Similarly, if one is experiencing rejection, the self-talk and cognitive state of that individual can either perpetuate the negative emotions, or the individual can focus on reviving their self-esteem. 

The third step in emotional hygiene is to protect your self-esteem. The trick with dealing with unhealthy psychological habits is to continually work on self-esteem. In protecting self-esteem, Dr. Winch identifies rumination as a primary risk factor. Rumination occurs when individuals continually focus on a negative memory or interaction, and it quickly becomes a difficult habit to stop. 

The fourth step in emotional hygiene is to battle negative thinking. This cumulative step focuses on the constant work required to build emotional resilience and perform healthy emotional hygiene. Negative cognitive states such as rumination can start at any point within an individual’s life, so being cognizant of emotional hygiene will allow for individuals to stay healthy and avoid the ramifications of loneliness, failure, and rejection. 

For coaches, emotional hygiene impacts themselves and their coachees. Recognizing negative emotional health, whether that is within yourself or a client is the first step in combatting long-term negative effects. 

You can find the full Ted Talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/guy_winch_why_we_all_need_to_practice_emotional_first_aid#t-11567


IOC's Tips of the Week are authored by Austin Matzelle