Our emotions are a valid part of ourselves —they describe physiological states and are generated unconsciously, in answer to certain external or internal events— and we need them! Emotions help us to take action, to survive, strike and avoid danger, to make decisions, to understand others. Moreover, they help other people to understand us.
So they have a reason to be, and have an impact in our lives as an injury or illness would. But our emotions, as well as our psychological health are commonly seen as not valid. Like just because they are not visible, they are not real.
— Oh, you’re depressed, shake it off, is all in your mind —
Sounds familiar, right? And sadly, is what almost everyone would tell you. Like you’re choosing to be that way… But that’s not true. Emotions are unconscious, we don’t control them. And so feeling, whatever the way you do, is completely real. It’s something that is there and needs its treatment, just like any physical disorder.
As kids, and as adults, no one teaches us basic methods to use when we are not in our best emotional health. Almost everyone knows what to do when they have a cut or when they burn their skin, but what about when we feel sad or anxious?
We don’t really know what to do, at least in a primary way. There is no “Emotional First Aid”. No guide telling us how to take care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence and knowledge we take care of our bodies.
We’ve got used to deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, but we don’t have to. I believe it’s time for us to start seeing emotional health as something that has a real impact in our world, and as something that must be taken care as efficiently as our physical health.
TED conference that inspired this article by Guy Winch