Miss Psychobabble: Why and How you should apply emotional first aid

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Image Credits: Run Jane Fox via Flickr
We have bandages and plasters for cuts, special soups for colds, and ice packs for bruises, but majority of people are not aware of the proper treatment for emotional injuries such as failure, rejection, and loss.

Guy Winch, a psychologist and the author of Emotional First Aid, highlights that these emotional injuries only get worse if left untreated. Thus, it causes negative impact on the quality of your life.


Emotional First Aid enables healthy expression and development of efficient strategies to alleviate the pain and reduce the likelihood of developing mental health disorders. Emotional wounds can be as paralyzing as the physical wounds. Here are 4 ways you can apply the emotional first aid:

1. Awareness of your emotional pain

Be able to identify and recognize triggers and the occurrence of emotional pain. Sometimes, the body alarms you with a physical pain such as heaviness feeling in the chest to signal that there is something wrong. Address and treat it. Try seeking support from your family and friends.

2. Shield your self-esteem

Self-esteem acts like your immune system, which helps fight the emotional pain and strengthens your resilience. Thus, it is important to monitor it and to avoid negative internal dialogue. Heal your damaged self-esteem by practicing genuine self-compassion. Count your blessings because that would not be possible if it were not for your capable self.

3. Do not drown yourself with guilt

Guilt, in medium doses, is useful. It tells you that you did something wrong and that you must make amends. But, guilt and shame in excessive doses is utterly toxic. It drains not only your emotional energy but also your physical and social energy. It prevents you to concentrate on important tasks and to enjoy the pleasure of life. A good way to treat this is to apologize with an "empathetic statement". Simply, your apology must include a statement that answers how your actions or inactions impacted the other person. The person will find it easier to forgive you because he/she feels that you understand the situation.

4. Find meaning in suffering and loss

Loss and suffering is inevitable in one's life, you can either be crippled or be strengthen by it. As Viktor Frankl stressed in his theory of "Logotherapy", we must find a purpose in our suffering and loss. You have the freedom of choice to be who you want to be despite what you have gone through. It may be difficult, but you have to contemplate on what you gained from a loss. Appreciate life and celebrate it.

Practicing and application of emotional first aid takes time and effort especially in the beginning but it is worth it! Trust me.

Listen to Guy Winch himself by watching this video, explaining emotional first aid in further detail:


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