If the state of mental health care is even more nonexistent than the state of health care in this country, then emotional health care is even further behind. Emotions are almost considered an afterthought in modern society — it’s rare to talk openly about them, even sometimes amongst close friends. It’s difficult territory for communication, and many of us simply shy away from it as a result.
The consequences can be enormous. We need emotional health hygiene, just like dental and physical hygiene. When our emotional lives are impoverished, our physical health suffers and our lifespan literally shortens. Stress kills. Unprocessed emotions have unintended consequences — they don’t just stay stuffed down; they shoot up like volcanoes, or geysers. They are usually triggered by something or someone unrelated or loosely related, who is then unfairly smeared and/or destroyed.
Emotional self care in the modern world
Stay tuned as I build out this page further — for now, to get some ideas flowing:
- Be mindful of ruminative tendencies — this can grow into anxiety and depression. Try to curtail too much of a dark, internally running “secret narrative,” and/or externalize it in some way and get some feedback on it for a reality check. Get some perspective — don’t just stew in silence.
- How to deal with failure and rejection — argue with our self-critical voice. Acknowledge and list the negative thoughts arising, consider counterarguments to those claims, and when your inner critic starts biting you can articulate back to the relevant rebuttals. Fight back against pessimism, and visualize successful scenarios.
- How to strengthen your “relationship muscles” — Practice taking the other person’s perspective. Brainstorm ways you could make overtures to deepen the emotional bonds. Figure out how to invest more time. Cultivate empathy.
- Find a creative outlet — Creativity is one of the very best ways of processing emotions of all kinds. Creative pursuits seem to extrude emotions into structures and works in the outside world. The process itself is meditative and self-sustaining, and a generative type of brain activity that can pay many additional dividends beyond simply the tangible outputs.
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