Ever notice the importance the body seems to have over the mind. People care more about tending to their bodies and making sure their teeth is brushed so they don’t get cavities, washing their hands to prevent the spread of bacteria, or putting a bandaid on a cut to avoid infection. But what about our tending to our mental health? Are we teaching our children emotional hygiene just as much as oral hygiene? Probably not.


We actually sustain emotional injuries more often than physical ones, such as failure, rejection, or loneliness. And they can get worse when we ignore them and they can also impact our lives. Yet we still don’t tend to our emotional wellness as much as physical, even though there are scientifically proven techniques to doing so. Instead we tell someone depressed to just shake it off and that it’s all in their head. We would never say this to someone with a broken leg. Physical and emotional health should be viewed and valued equally.


Something like loneliness, feeling disconnected from people, which just seems like a mental thing, actually affects us physically as well. Chronic loneliness can increase your chances of an early death by 14%. Loneliness causes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and suppresses the immune system which makes you more susceptible to other diseases and illnesses. Scientists say that loneliness puts your longterm health and longevity at risk, just as much as smoking cigarettes. While cigarettes come with warning labels, loneliness doesn’t.


Failure also affects us in ways we don’t realize. Failure tricks our minds into thinking we aren’t capable of doing something. And the more we’re convinced, the more we’ll function below our true potential. Once we’re convinced of something, it’s difficult to change our mind.


Rejection is also damaging. After being rejected, we’re all guilty of criticizing ourselves or being cruel and judgmental towards our own selves. Why would we do this when our self esteem is already low? Why would we damage ourselves further? We wouldn’t cut through a physical wound to see how far we could go. Rejection and failure is harder to recover from. We need to care for ourselves better, like our emotional pain is bleeding physical wounds.


Rumination is when we replay hurtful, stressful, negative thoughts. When we do this over and over, it becomes a habit. A bad habit that can lead to clinical depression, alcoholism, eating disorders, and even cardiovascular disease. Rumination feels like a strong need, but it’s damaging and for some people even stifling. But yet, we can look physically healthy and be emotionally unhealthy. To stop rumination, it only takes a 2 minute distraction.


We’re able to gain control of our thoughts and only think positive thoughts. We’re able to overcome failure and feel positive towards ourselves. We’re able to go out and connect with others. We’re able to rebuild ourselves and pick ourselves up when we’re knocked down. We can do all these things only if we practice emotional first aid just as importantly as we do physical first aid. By tending to our emotional pain and needs, we’re able to practice and do the little things that strengthen us emotionally. Just like brushing our teeth to prevent cavities.


If you or a love one struggles with coping and overcoming emotional pain, please contact Crownview Medical Group to get in touch with medical professional who can help you learn emotional first aid.