Emotional hygiene – we pay more attention to our teeth than we do our minds (Guy Winch)

Photo Credit: yourbestdigs Flickr via Compfight cc


I was listening to the NPR Ted Radio hour podcast recently when something Guy Winch said struck a chord.


Emotional hygiene.   My noggin’ perked up, as I’ve been known to suffer from what I call blender-brain-itis (I can have a hard time shutting the whirring, churning of ideas, to-do’s etc. off).


We’re not talking feather dusters for your brain.

Say what?   Hang in there with me. I don’t know about you but when I think of hygiene I don’t necessarily think of my psychological health.


So I dug a little deeper.  Guy says:

In much the same way that dental hygiene involves brushing our teeth and flossing every day… emotional hygiene refers to being mindful of our psychological health and adopting brief daily habits to monitor and address psychological wounds when we sustain them.

He goes on to say that currently, our general neglect of our emotional hygiene is profound. How is it we spend more time each day taking care of our teeth than our minds? We brush and floss but what daily activity do we do to maintain our psychological health?

Connect emotional hygiene with your values

It got me thinking that when my emotional hygiene is good, I’m following my values – which include the humour, diversity, social responsibility & creativity/innovation.

For example I feel fabulous when I’m designing new ways to teach something (creativity/innovation), I’ve created a safe place for participants to have a great time learning (humour) & I’m opening my mind to new ways of thinking (diversity).

What about you?  How do you take care of your emotional hygiene?  Take moment to leave a comment below.

P.S. Next week I’ll include a nifty little tool that will help you focus & improve your emotional hygiene.  Promise.


Tags: , , , ,

2 Responses to “Emotional hygiene – we pay more attention to our teeth than we do our minds (Guy Winch)”

  1. billystrean Says:
    January 27th, 2017 at 3:40 am

    Great points. Just today, with an undergrad class, we touched on these ideas and very apropos to your comments, we did some “mental floss” exercises (as part of laughter yoga). There are a multitude of ways to practice emotional hygiene from yoga/meditation to time in nature, to practices that generate positive emotions like gratitude. I think the term “hygiene” may not be as enticing as others, but the idea is essential.

  2. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    January 27th, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Hi Billy- love the concept of ‘mental floss.’ I did a laughter yoga class a few years back- odd but super fun. I found myself incredulously laughing so hard I couldn’t stop & my belly hurt as a result. Thanks so much for your comment.

Leave a Reply