Emotional First Aid

Emotional First Aid

The PhD psychologist and keynote speaker Guy Winch has published a book,  ‘Emotional First Aid’. His TEDTalk focuses on ‘Why we all need to practice emotional first aid’, point being that we need to look after our emotional health as much as we would our physical health. 

Injury 1- Rumination

Cause: This could be a mistake you think you have made, bad news, an argument.

Symptoms: Over- analysing the situation, beating yourself up, replaying and reliving upsetting moments over and over again.

First Aid Tips: Guy Winch says that even a two minute distraction can break the habit to ruminate. So if you feel it coming on, really concentrate your mind onto something else. Guy Winch said it worked for him! Also try to be philosophical (easier said than done I know), if you can’t change what has happened then why agonise over it, instead think how you might react differently the next time.

Injury 2- Loneliness

Cause: This could be your caring role, moving to a new area, illness, the end of a relationship.

Symptoms: Retreating into your shell, loss of self-esteem, depression, negative approach.

First Aid Tips: Try to challenge negative perceptions, create new opportunities, take a leap of faith and let someone in.


Injury 3 – Rejection

Cause: This could be a relationship ending, not getting a job you have applied for, being left out in a friendship situation.

Symptoms: You may feel angry all the time, down on yourself and deeply hurt.

First Aid Tips: List your best qualities and spend time with people who boost your confidence and mood.

Injury 4- Loss / Trauma

Cause: This could be a bereavement, the loss of a relationship or being involved in a traumatic incident.

Symptoms: Feelings of disbelief, bitterness (why me?), feeling anti-social and forgetful.

First Aid Tips: Be kind to yourself and give yourself time. Try to find a meaning and purpose in your loss. Connet with the loved ones that are still here and can support you.

Injury 5 – Failure

Cause: Failing an exam or a driving test, a job or relationship not working out.

Symptoms: Defeatism, as though there is no point in even trying, loss of self-esteem.

First Aid Tips: Try and list the factors that were in your control and think about what you might do differently next time. Don’t become convinced by failure, don’t think it will always happen. In short, keep the faith, you can do it!