Emotional Self-Care: The Key to Good Quality of Life

30 July, 2020
Emotional self-care is essential for healthy emotional development. It can also have a huge impact on our social and physical well-being. Read on to learn more!
 

Emotional self-care plays a very important role in well-being. However, like other types of self-care, we only make enough time for it when we experience an emotional setback.

Our quality of life, meaning our physical, emotional, and social well-being, has a huge impact on our general state of health. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to practice emotional self-care in our daily lives. In this article, we analyze some of its different health benefits.

What’s emotional self-care?

Emotional self-care is looking after every aspect of our emotional world. It consists of being aware of and paying close attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

A smiling woman.

Practicing self-care requires a certain level of understanding on your part.

In fact, self-care is a chance to show those we love most:

  • Care. You can help people feel loved and cared for by expressing these feelings through attention, caresses, looks, words, and smiles.
  • Empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes. This allows you to gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for their perspective.
 
  • Respect. Considering other people and understanding their boundaries, as well as your own.
  • Gratitude. Recognizing what others do for you and what you do for them.
  • Patience. The ability to face stressful situations without losing your cool.

All these values are key to emotional self-care and caring for other people’s emotions. The idea is to validate your emotions as well as other people’s, providing support in difficult situations, and offering a new perspective so that you can learn from the experiences and situations you face.

Trust also plays a role. It’s important for people to know that they have someone they can rely on, who values them and cares about their emotional well-being.

Emotional self-care helps us to protect, shape, and learn from your emotions, thus improving your quality of life. You can use these techniques to help you better connect with others, your surroundings, and yourself.

The importance of emotional self-care for your health

Initially, our parents, caregivers, or loved ones provide us the emotional support we need. This is essential for our survival, as we depend entirely on the care of others when we’re born.

Later in life, we understand our feelings and how we should treat others. We also start to learn how to care for others and ourselves. However, if our emotional world collapses, it’s almost impossible for us to support those around us.

Practicing emotional self-care helps promote emotional, physical, and social well-being. On an emotional level, it provides us with security, guidance, understanding, and support, helping us to manage our emotions. On a social level, it helps us learn how to treat others. Having a better understanding of our emotions can also help promote our physical well-being, as a negative state of mind can leave us susceptible to some diseases.

 

The science of emotional self-care

Throughout history, psychologists and psychoanalysts have studied the impact of emotional deprivation and its effects on children’s development. Low emotional intelligence and difficulty regulating one’s emotions as a child can make us more likely to develop toxic relationships later in life.

In the 20th century, psychoanalysts such as Wilfred Bion, Anna Freud, and Donald Woods Winnicott studied psychological problems related to emotional deprivation. In 1969, John Bowlby took this one step further. He developed an attachment theory that suggested that the ability to establish close relationships is essential to our survival.

Today, thanks to neuroimaging advances, we can actually see the effects relationships have on our brain. Thanks to magnetic resonance imaging, we can now understand how the mechanisms of emotional deprivation (lack of attachment) affect our brains.

This new neurophysiological data confirms the importance of emotional care in child development. It also suggests that mental maturation is conditioned by our social, emotional, and cultural environment. Likewise, that the mind continues to adapt and evolve throughout our lives.

A woman and her son at the beach.
 

The benefits

Practicing emotional self-care can improves quality of life. In fact, it has many benefits, such as:

  • Helps us understand our emotions.
  • Improves communication skills.
  • Increases feelings of security.
  • Promotes personal development.
  • Allows us to build stronger connections with the things and people that surround us, as well as with ourselves.
  • Helps us manage our emotions.
  • Improves our self-awareness, helping us understand ourselves better.

Emotional self-care opens us up to a whole new world of emotions. Little by little, we find ourselves changing, growing, and developing so that we can establish healthier relationships with others and ourselves.

We play a fundamental role in promoting our own personal growth. In many cases, our ability to assert ourselves properly opens the door to this new period of growth. However, our behavior doesn’t only depend on the care we receive in the first few years of our lives. As we get older, we experience many situations that play a huge role in shaping who we are.

 
  • Comín, M.A. (2014). El vínculo de apego y sus consecuencias para el psiquismo humano. Logos, 2, 1-5.
  • Ghanem, N. (2016). L’impact des carences affectives vues par les neuroseciences. Revue Sciences Humaines, (46), 185-192.