Emotional Hygiene: practice it daily.
Emotional hygiene is as important as physical hygiene
It’s easy to think that success begets happiness, but it’s more accurate to flip that sentence. Personal well-being enables you to achieve your goals. We all know what needs to be done to keep up our physical well-being: eating properly, getting enough exercise and sleep. But when it comes to our emotional health, not only are we ignorant of what we should do, we often do exactly the wrong thing.
As psychologist Guy Winch points out in a Ted Talk with over four million views, even a five year old knows to put a band aid on a cut so that it can heal. When it comes to emotional injuries, however, our instinctive reactions is not to take restorative action to heal, frequently making the problem worse.
Emotional hygiene means rebuilding your self-esteem and purging yourself of negative emotions when times get difficult by treating yourself with compassion. Think of how we react when we have friends who are hurting from failure or rejection. We tell them not to let it get them down, to look how far they’ve come, that they are winners and will soon be celebrating success. We take them out for a drink or some other activity to help them get their minds off it.
When it comes to how we treat ourselves, however, we do exactly the opposite. Instead of taking our minds off of our failure we brood and ruminate over it. Instead of telling ourselves we are winners we beat ourselves up: “Of course I failed! I’m such a loser! How could I have imagined it would turn out differently?”
Albert Einstein said, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” As an entrepreneur you’re always trying something new; you are living right on the edge, pushing the limits. You’re a winner but that doesn’t mean there won’t be setbacks. You must deal with them properly so you don’t get sidetracked onto a path to negativity and even depression.
Show yourself some compassion, it’s really not difficult. When you experience failure or rejection, act as you would expect your best friend to act. Tell yourself you’re a winner and this is only temporary. If you find yourself brooding or obsessing, force yourself to think about something else. Studies show that even a two-minute distraction can neutralize self defeating thoughts.
- Listen to a song you love.
- Do a puzzle.
- Call a friend just to say hi.
- Take a 10 minute walk.
- Read 25 motivational quotes (motivation is like showering, it’s best practiced daily)
This approach is proven to limit your stress and anxiety, help you bounce back from failure and propel you towards success. But, you must force yourself to make it a habit to remove yourself from the failure or rejections.
When you practice emotional hygiene you will be happier and more productive and you will eliminate any self-destructive behavior. Michael Jordan reports that he missed 26 potentially game-winning shots. But you know damn well he never hesitated to take the next one. Be like Mike. You didn’t get where you’re by being a loser.