Practicing Emotional First Aid as a Man

Learn how to give yourself more quality of life and discover more about yourself. Based on a TED Talk by psychologist Dr. Guy.

Learn how to give yourself more quality of life and discover more about yourself. Based on a TED Talk by psychologist Dr. Guy.

When we get sick, get an infection or a cut we take antibiotics or put a bandage. We know that by doing that we’re gonna get better. Since being a child we’ve learned how to take care of our body but we don’t do the same when it comes to our mental health.

We know how to make first aid on our physical bodies but our psychological wounds don’t receive the same treatment. And that is part of us. As humans, we suffer emotional and physical injuries. Emotional pain comes from experiences of failure, rejection, loneliness and doesn’t always heal on their own. They can be deep and sometimes disconnect us from the world. 

Many of us prioritize our physical health but it’s important to become aware and recognize when the emotional pain happens and work to deal and treat it. For example, loneliness is a deep damaging feeling that can sustain a psychological wound. As a first response to this painful emotion we bring our “self-defense mode” to the table and we start feeling socially or emotionally isolated. This is the moment we need to take action. 

That’s what the psychologist Guy Winch explains on his talk “We all need to practice emotional first aid”. He says useful ways to improve and practice our mental health. Here’s some key points of his presentation:

• Be aware of feelings of helplessness that arise. They’re not true and are always playing with our minds.

• We should pay attention to the emotional pain to recognize when it happens and how we can work to treat it. If loneliness, a rejection or failure is not getting better and you’re feeling socially or emotionally isolated, you’ve sustained a psychological wound. Knowing that, you need to take action and start treating it by giving attention to when it first began, why it began and how you can start treating it.

• We are our own worst critics when faced with rejection or failure. He suggests to practice self-compassion by treating yourself with the same way you would expect from a dear good friend when they are trying to comfort and boost you up, full of compassion and support.

• That we must protect our self-esteem by noticing these unhealthy psychological habits and explore what they are trying to tell us. Like When you feel like putting yourself down, take a moment to be compassionate to yourself.

• Also, battle negative thoughts. Ruminating thoughts come and go. The best way to disrupt unhealthy rumination is to distract yourself by engaging in a task that requires concentration. Studies show that even two minutes of distraction will reduce the urge to focus on the negative things.

Dr. Winch explains: “When you’re in emotional pain, treat yourself with the same emotional compassion you would expect from a good friend.”

Practicing these habits of emotional hygiene and first aid can change perspectives and elevate your entire quality of life. Pay attention, stop emotional bleeding, protect your self-esteem, and battle negative thoughts.  Build emotional resilience and try to help yourself by understanding which emotional first aid works best for you. It might take a while and require some effort, but it’s important to give you more quality of life and discover more about yourself. You deserve it.

If you want more on practicing emotional first aid, be sure to watch Dr. Winch’s full TED Talk. And don’t forget: take care of yourself!

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