Emotional injuries are often more difficult to heal than the physical ones so we need to learn how to administer first aid to our emotions as well as we do to our bodies. We never hesitate to put a plaster on a cut or get a cast on a broken arm but are we as vigilant when looking after our emotional wellbeing.
Some top tips when trying to heal those emotional wounds
- Recognising when you are in emotional pain
Pay attention to your body – emotional pain can often manifest itself as a physical symptom such as a headache or stomach ache. Take the time to recognise that you are feeling ‘off’ and find the cause of your pain. Don’t just ignore it – emotional pain will not just go away. Speak to a friend, trusted adult or start a journal to help you express your emotional pain and identify its cause.
- Be gentle with yourself
Show yourself some compassion – putting yourself down will drag down your self-esteem and make it harder for you to heal your emotional pain. Change your negative thoughts to yourself into something positive e.g. ‘I can’t get anything right’ becomes ‘I may not get it right this time, but I will keep trying.’ Write yourself positive reminders and notes to help build your self-compassion.
- Distract yourself
The best way to distract yourself from dwelling on something negative is to do something positive instead. Do something that requires you to concentrate or try doing something physical – taking a walk or going for a run is a great way to clear out your cluttered mind and put things in perspective.
- Redefine what failure means to you
- Find meaning in loss
Loss has a significant impact on everyone – be it the loss of a loved one or the loss of something vital to you such as a job or a friendship. Instead of thinking about the loss itself, focus on what you gained from the experience and what you could now change to add meaning to your life.
Pay attention to your emotional health regularly but particularly after a difficult, stressful or emotionally painful situation.
Take a look at just some of the ways we are developing our own Emotional First Aid this year through our mental fitness themed days.