Around a thousand years ago, human beings started practising intense physical hygiene, which eventually led to the prevention of many diseases and infection; this dramatically increased life expectancy. We all are aware and conscious about our hygiene. Since a very young age, we have been taught about the discipline needed to maintain personal hygiene in order to avoid infection and diseases.
We are concerned about our physical hygiene a lot, which is important to prevent infectious diseases. Everybody talks about physical hygiene, but do we ever consider emotional hygiene?
Health is defined as ‘physical, mental and social well-being of a person’, according to the World Health Organisation. We rigorously practice physical hygiene but many a times, do not consider or entirely ignore emotional hygiene, which has psychological aspects. A healthy mind leads to a healthy body. The health of mind comes from the ability to deal with stress, anxiety and negative feelings efficiently.
There may be certain experiences and emotions that may come unexpectedly into our lives, sometimes leaving us insecure, lonely and sad. These may be due to rejection, disappointment, loneliness, grief, guilt and so on. These are all normal human emotions.
People feel deeply hurt and psychologically wounded under these conditions, yet, do not try to seek a solution and carry on with the pain for a very long time. There are scientifically-proven methods to alleviate such psychological pain and emotional bleeding.
We underestimate the emotional and psychological pain and its influence on our body and mind. We sustain psychological wounds longer than the physical injuries, which also have a deep impact on our overall mental well-being. People even refrain from sharing their feelings with others and suffer in silence, in fear of rejection and neglect from society, which adds to the problem.
Over 264 million people from all ages throughout the world of suffer from depression. Depression is the leading cause of disability around the world and also a major reason for global diseases. Women are more vulnerable to depression than men.
Chronic loneliness is deadly because it increases chances of death by 29%. Studies have shown that prolonged feelings of loneliness and other negative emotions may lead to depression, alcoholism, cardiovascular disease and other chronic ailments. It may also lead to a weakened immune system and distorted perceptions. Loneliness is worse than obesity for our health. Loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Sometimes, emotions are so overwhelming and unpleasant that they become unbearable. Failure is one such emotion, but the real definition of failure exists within our own perception. For one person, failure might be one thing, while for the other, it would be something else This depends on our own experiences, demands and desires in life.
Once we are convinced by our own minds that we cannot do a certain thing, it becomes really difficult to change that self-made opinion. On the other hand, having self-confidence boosts up our morale and increases our will power as well as efficiency to achieve goals.
Hence, one must fight the feeling of perceived failure, helplessness, loneliness and other negative emotions and thoughts. Our mind and feelings are significantly connected. While negative self-talk may lead to low self-esteem and poor performance, positive self-talk may lead to higher self-esteem and wonderful self-improvement.
Our minds are beautiful tools. We can create or destroy feelings, thoughts, and indirectly, actions through our thought process, which again, play a significant role in maintaining emotions and psychological well-being.
Due to underestimation of emotional hygiene and lack of communication, we dig deeper into our negative feelings and indulge in overthinking when dealing with an emotional disturbance. This is similar to digging deeper into our psychological wounds.
This is called the habit of ruminating or repeating painful emotional experience by recalling them again and again, which deteriorates peace of mind, disturbs psychological health and hinders emotional hygiene.
Ruminating is a breakable habit; sometimes we feel that these thoughts are uncontrollable, but studies suggest that even a two-minute break from such ruminating negative thoughts is effective to break the cycle of negative thoughts, by focusing and concentrating on other things.
Emotional health is a significant aspect and has the potential to increase life expectancy and quality of life, as a large proportion of people in the world suffer from some emotional disturbance which, may lead to chronic ailments.
Change Response to Negative Thoughts
Being aware of our emotions and their impact on our health and productivity can help us understand that we have the ability to control them to a significant degree. We can instrumentalise them to not just restore our emotional and psychological health, but also thrive.
There is significant scope to make people aware of the perks of practising emotional hygiene and psychological health. It has the potential to increase life expectancy of human beings and lead to an improved quality of life.