Taking care of yourself: how to deal with emotional pain?
Taking care of yourself: how to deal with emotional pain?

You put a patch on a cut and you take antibiotics to treat an infection, right? Yes, that’s how we do it. If you don’t, there will always be someone who encourages you to go see your doctor. But how do we do when it comes to emotional pain, aka our mental health?

First aid for emotional pain

First aid for emotional damage is something we do not learn and often do not do. “Just continue with life and the pain will leave” is what we tend to say when it comes to emotional damage such as rejection, failure, loneliness, loss or feelings of guilt. After all emotional pain is something we cannot see. It’s intangible. But someone with “emotional injuries” knows too well how much it can hurt, how paralyzing it can work. Isn’t it time we learn how to practise emotional first aid?

This is how you do it!

Psychologist Guy Winch shares in his book “Emotional First Aid” how you can practise first aid when experiencing emotional pain. Some of his tips:

  • Recognize emotional pain. From now on pay attention to any emotional pain. Try to recognize it and take the time to practise first aid. Before it completely takes over. Just like you would put a patch on a cut, it is important to be kind to yourself when experiencing emotional pain! Treat yourself the way you would treat a close friend after a failed test, a broken relationship, or gloomy feelings.
  • Consider your first reaction to the pain. Emotional wounds are easy to “go into” which only makes them worse. Take the example of rejection: that nice date suddenly says that they are not up for a next dinner. You are thinking: “Of course not, who wants to date someone as shy as me.”, or “I knew he / she was way out of my league”. You focus on your “shortcomings”. But we are already hurt by the rejection. Why would we want to further damage ourselves? Try to intercept this initial reaction and turn it around into caring for yourself: “I will find someone who accepts me as I am!”
  • Guard and protect your self-esteem. If you feel like knocking yourself down, take a moment to show compassion for yourself too! Your self-esteem is like an emotional immune system that keeps you away from emotional pain and strengthens your emotional resilience. For one critical thought about yourself, try to think three positive thoughts about yourself or give yourself the pep talk your best friend would give you.

Never too late to learn

Learning to practice emotional first aid won’t be an easy task. However, if you notice that, for example, you are always very hard on yourself or you know that you have a low self-esteem, please take action! A first step after this article can be to watch Guy Winch’s TedTalk. From now on take the time to practice emotional first aid, make it a priority.

NiceDay app

In need of some extra help? Please don’t hesitate to contact someone from the NiceDay Team. You can contact us here or download the app and send us a chat message!

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Deel dit artikel! Als dit artikel voor jou inzichtelijk was, deel het dan met je omgeving - laten we het samen hebben over mentale gezondheid.

Lisa den Boer

Content creator who believes in the power of content: breaking taboo, motivating and inspiring. Curious about new places, cultures and other people.

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