Today I’d like to write about one topic dear to my heart: mental and emotional hygiene. This is a wide subject so I will focus on some aspects of it for today and write more about it over-time.
Our society is doing a poor job at educating us about mental and emotional hygiene. Our school system is built around Intellect and taking care of our mind, is still being painted as a sign of being crazy in many ways.
In order to heal our emotional and mental hurts, we need help, we can’t do all this alone. Whether it is books, therapists, support group or loved ones, we need to learn the tools and knowledge.
“How to Help Those We Love”
First, I would like to share about a simple principle that helped my relationship greatly and my well-being too . An healthy relationship demands strong and constant communication and relationships are easily breaking because of unsaid expectations. I can across an interesting video a while ago: “How to Help Those We Love“. If you aren’t familiar with The School of Life content on YouTube, I would definitely recommend it.
When we feel sad or we have one problem and we like to share about it, we have expectations of how we want our confident to be there for us. The problem we most face is that these are “secret” expectation, something we keep for ourselves and we are upset and are building resentment when our partner or friend isn’t matching them. This is truly unfair to the person we care about, we didn’t even give that person a real chance and still we see the relationship damaged because of them “not knowing” what we need.
I suggest a change, we shouldn’t set unsaid expectations to the ones we love. Instead we should tell them our needs and our expectations. Simply give them a chance to help us and be there for us the way we need it.
In this video, we learn that we can have a few needs (or expectations) in such situations and there is a brief description of it:
“Feeling heard could be the quintessence of Love”
We need to speak! We just would like to be with someone who can emphatically listen to us, they do not need talk, they do not need to help us overcome our problem. We just need them to be there for us, looking at us, handling our hand eventually and just being emotional engaged with us while staying silent with their mouth but speaking with their eyes and heart.
“We can’t be reassured by what someone said”
We want a plan! We expect our listener to find concrete solutions, to help us define that plan or check list and even making it for us. Even spending money on our problem (coach, trainer or lawyer).
“Love is a specie of hope”
The simpliest way to put it is that we just want to be told that everything will be okay. We want our partner to be positive and enthusiastic about the outcome of our problems.
“We want someone to explore the grimiest possibilities with bleak Sang-Froid”
It is quite the opposite of the previous, we need someone to explore the worst case scenario with us and be capable of going there with us for a moment.
“The most reliable evidence of heart felt Love”
“To heal our minds, we need someone to reassure our bodies”
The touch on our lover could mean the world in some situation and a quiet embrace worth more than any words.
How this impacted my life and relationships? Positively! It is actually pretty simple but fundamentally important. When I would like to share with my partner (which I do often!), I tell her what I need. Regularly she finds it herself of course. When I find her sharing solutions and I only need to be listened to, I just kindly say to her that I would like to be listened to if she is available for that. It goes a very long way, she could have tried to find solutions for the next 30 minutes and slowly get me upset and as well as closing me while she comes from a place of care, love and helpfulness.
At times, I just look at her and ask her to hug me quietly, simple as that.
It also made me a better partner, a better confident. Knowing she might have needs I don’t know, I ask when I feel lost and I am not sure what she needs right now.
On top of that, it is working the other way around as she is doing the same both ways. So you can easily imagine the benefit in a relationship when both partners work on applying that. This is truly valuable when we are in an open relationship and when sharing emotions, feelings and thoughts is done often.
“How to practice emotional hygiene”
This is a TedTalk that makes a lot of sense and make the topic easier to grasp. The Speaker is Guy Winch, he is a Psychologist and tells a story which happens with his twin bother (as well as a few others). I won’t spoiler that part, if you didn’t listen to it, you know what to do.
Some simple examples he is taking are the following:
– Even a small kid know that when they have a cut, they need to put a bandage on it
– Even a small kid know that they need to brush their teeth twice a day
But whether we are this small kids or most adults, we have no idea about emotional hygiene and there are scientific proven ways showing we know how to do it.
“Oh! You are feeling depressed? Shake it off, it is all in your head!”
Would we say that to someone with a broken leg? 🙂
“Walk it off! It is all in your leg!”
The answer is obviously no. But we say the first one to our friends, colleagues or loved ones all the time!
“It is time we close the gap between physical and psychological health, it is time we make them more equal”
When he talks about failure, one of his point could be summarized as: Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right. He suggests that we should know how we react to failure as we all have limiting believes. So if these believes are telling us we can’t succeed, we can’t forgive that person, we can’t solve that problem then we likely won’t do it.
His using a few stories to illustrate this point from different angles (the toddlers and the woman who got rejected).
With emotional health and because poor emotional hygiene, we make our emotional cut deeper. We don’t try to stop the emotional bleeding. This needs to stop.
Ruminating is a habit that we develop easily for example and that could be truly damaging. Depression, alcoholism or loneliness are quickly learnt while ruminating. It could impact our self-esteem, confidence and close us up as well. Even himself, as a psychologist and well-aware person around emotional hygiene developed a ruminating pattern when his twin brother got a diagnosis of cancer. He knew how to snap out of it and he made it through, but I lot of us wouldn’t and it would have taken us years and more years of healing and recovery due to the heavy damages to ourselves.
Image a world where we all practice emotional hygiene:
“Can you imagine, what the world would be like if everyone was physiologically healthier?”
“If there were less loneliness and less depression?”
“If people knew how to overcome failure?”
“If they felt better about themselves and more empowered?”
“If they were happier and more fulfilled?”
That is a world he would like to live in, that is a world I to want to know. I started my journey to make this change in my own world. Would you? I also hope to reach a wider audience through this blog or some daily life acts and sharing.
This talk didn’t had an immediate impact in my life, it was making mental and emotional hygiene more okay, less taboo; when I listened to the first time. I need some help with certain things in my life, like we all do. Anyone thinking otherwise is just oblivious to their own needs and challenges.
This talk is blended with some audio books, other videos, my relationships and all these elements brought to me to a better self-awareness of my own needs. Which is why next week I will share you with something very personal, I am starting therapy soon. I wish all of us would in our lives. I hope to learn and deepen my findings and breakthroughs as well as possibly influencing my readers to consider that for the own well-being. I also recently accompanied someone to a Support Group. I would like to share about my experience as Support Group is one of the way to heal one-self and move forward in life.
In early December, I will go through a 5 days training about self-development. The training is called Choice from the Olde Vechte Foundation in the Netherlands. It is quite intense so I am not sure how I will cover it: Vlog, daily posts and just taking notes and writing later about it. The one thing that is sure is that I want to share it here. It is my first time in such an event and I am looking forward to share my experiences!