SWIPE swipe down

The Importance of Emotional Hygiene: A Guide to Mental Well-Being

In my years of practice, I have heard many times, “I wish I knew that years ago” or “They should teach this in schools.” The concept of emotional hygiene is the most overlooked aspect of mental health. But what exactly is emotional hygiene?

As a psychotherapist and coach, I often find myself discussing the concept of emotional hygiene with my clients. But what exactly is emotional hygiene, and why is it so important for our mental well-being? Let’s break it down.

What Is Emotional Hygiene?

Imagine emotional hygiene as similar to personal hygiene, but for your mind and emotions. Just as you brush your teeth, take showers, and wash your hands to keep your body clean and healthy, emotional hygiene involves practices to keep your mind and emotions healthy and balanced.

In simpler terms, emotional hygiene is about taking care of your feelings and thoughts, just like you take care of your body.

“Emotional hygiene is the capacity where I can slow down, I can pause, I can be with that feeling, whatever it is, and know how to address it.” — Justine Hajduk

Why Is Emotional Hygiene Important?

Emotional hygiene is crucial because our mental health impacts every aspect of our lives. When we neglect our emotional well-being, it can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and even depression. Just as poor personal hygiene can result in physical illness, poor emotional hygiene can lead to mental health issues.

By practising emotional hygiene, we can prevent these negative outcomes and cultivate a sense of inner peace and resilience, even in challenging times.

How to Practice Emotional Hygiene

Practised emotional hygiene involves adopting habits and behaviours that promote mental well-being. Here are some simple ways to incorporate emotional hygiene into your daily routine:

1. Journaling: Every day, set aside some time to jot down your feelings and thoughts. By keeping a journal, you can better understand your ideas and process emotions. This helps you discover your needs and gain a close, personal connection with your soul. Doing this will bring you one step closer to fulfilling your potential and taking care of your soul on an emotional level.

2. Exercise: Engage in physical activity regularly. Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress. Your feelings are in your body, not in your head, so releasing feelings through your body is emotionally healing.

3. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness or meditation to bring awareness to your thoughts and emotions without judgement. This can help reduce anxiety and increase emotional self-awareness. There is an exception to this: if, until now, you tried it, and it did not work, it means that there is an issue with emotional processing. Mindfulness and meditation are beneficial for people who find it comfortable to sit with their feelings. If you tend to overthink everything and are constantly busy, it may mean that you need to work on your emotional processing before starting your meditation and mindfulness journey. After that, my clients find meditation life-changing, but before, it was simply a mentally sore body and stiff back with a brain rollercoaster of lists to do arriving in their heads at the same time.

4. Healthy Boundaries: Set boundaries in your relationships to protect your emotional well-being. Learn to say no when necessary and prioritise self-care. Learn how to say yes to yourself and no to others.

5. Seek Support: Find the courage to reach out for support from friends, family, or a mental health professional when needed. Talking about your feelings can provide relief and perspective.

Emotional Hygiene Examples

  • Taking deep breaths when feeling overwhelmed
  • Engaging in hobbies or activities that bring joy
  • Practising gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal
  • Setting aside time for relaxation and self-care activities
  • Expressing emotions through creative outlets such as art or music

Effects of Poor Emotional Hygiene (Symptoms)

  • Increased anxiety or worry
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns
  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Relationship conflicts

– Physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches

Prioritising emotional hygiene is essential for maintaining good mental health and overall well-being. By incorporating simple practices into your daily routine and being proactive about caring for your emotional health, you can cultivate resilience, inner peace, and a greater sense of fulfilment in life. Remember, just as you take care of your body, it’s equally important to nurture your mind and emotions for a healthier, happier life.