What is “emotional hygiene”?
In this 2014 TEDx talk, Guy Winch highlights an important, fundamental problem about today’s society that our coaches deeply resonate with: Why do we prioritise physical health over emotional well-being? Why are we taught good habits to keep our bodies at peak performance (e.g. exercising, brushing our teeth, etc.) but not any methods to maintain our “emotional hygiene”?
“But I don’t have any mental health issues! I’m perfectly sane and have control over my full mental faculties,” you may say. Sure, you’re sane. You are capable of logical reasoning and self-control.
But do you notice all your recurring thoughts and behaviors? In particular, are you aware of those inner beliefs that limit your self-worth, those that stop you from achieving your best in whatever role that you play?
“Why should I risk that again, when I’ve failed before?”
“If I do that, it will definitely suck, just like the last time.”
“I will always be bad at (insert activity here).”
More often than not, we give in to those ideas all the time — whether we do it consciously or otherwise. These self-limiting thoughts impact the efficiency and effectiveness of our work, our responses to crises and even the quality of our relationships.
That’s why it’s crucial to take care of our emotional well-being alongside our physical health.
Your beliefs have origins. They are the emotional scars that we suffer from, that hinder our ability to function at our maximum capabilities. To an adult, the idea that something in our past like our childhood experiences, for example, would become so entrenched in our subconscious is hard to accept.
Yet we’ve seen thousands of cases working with clients from all over the world that past experiences cemented their beliefs in their notions of accomplishment and failure. They become so convinced that they are, for instance, only good at numbers because they consistently perform well in mathematics at school but are terrible at playing a musical instrument just because they failed their piano exam when they were 9.
Even people who dare to take risks tend to do so in certain fields that they are comfortable with, despite the fact that people around them are able to point out that they have so much more potential than they can see for themselves.
So how do I start taking care of my emotional well-being?
1. The first step is to acknowledge that though you are aware of certain aspects of yourself, in all likelihood, you have missed out on some blindspots in how you perceive things about yourself.
2. Next, rate your self-awareness by asking yourself these questions:
a. Are you conscious about your thoughts and actions? Not in the sense of “I am a functioning being aware of the fact that I am alive,” but in the sense of knowing why you are doing what you’re doing, living with purpose and meaning instead of just surviving on paychecks.
b. Do you know who you are? Do you accept all of yourself – even the “not-so-nice” parts of you? Or do you dissociate yourself from them, pretending that they do not exist?
c. Do you know why you have become the way you are? What happened in your past has affected the way you think today. Even if we think that we have “moved on”, our wounds were never given a chance to heal because we weren’t taught how to deal with them.
3. Research various methods on how to maintain your emotional well-being, whether through physiological techniques (watch Amy Cuddy’s TEDx talk, “Your body language shapes who you are”), practicing mindfulness through meditation (check out our Quantum Zazen Facebook Community – all sessions are free and run frequently) or finding a coach that matches your needs and expectations to work with you on your life.
There are multiple ways to discover your true self and advance your personal development, but if you’re looking for an accelerated solution, consider The Courage to Create™ program. In just 3 days, you will discover what has been holding you back in your life and how you can achieve the goals that are important to you. Unlike other self-development courses, The Courage to Create™ offers on-on-one individual coaching alongside group sessions, which addresses your personal challenges and aspirations.