We've all felt lonely from time to time. But when it starts to impact our mental health, how do we learn how to break the cycle? In our latest Series 'Easing Loneliness', Dr Guy Winch talks through the reasons we become lonely, and how to enhance our emotional health. In this post, we catch up with Dr Guy for a quick-fire Q&A on what he does to support his own mental wellbeing.
What key things drew you to working with Unmind?
Emotional health in the workplace is an incredibly important issue and one that often gets neglected. Partnering with a company that offers education and resources, as well as practical tools to increase mental health was an easy ‘yes’ for me, because offering information in engaging ways as well as science-based practical tools to improve emotional health is exactly what I try to do in my talks, books, my Dear Guy column at TED and my Dear Therapists podcast.
What does the statement "We all have mental health, all of the time" mean to you? What is your experience with your own mental health?
I always say that our brain might be the most sophisticated ‘machine’ in the universe but it does require adult supervision – and we are the adults. What that means is that good mental health requires maintenance and ongoing mindfulness “all of the time” – so we can take action to boost our emotional well-being, apply emotional first aid to psychological wounds, invest in our relationships and do the other things that keep us on top of our mental health.
One of the advantages of writing books about emotional health is you have a lot of the answers, the tips and tricks to maintaining and improving emotional health and since I do – I also tend to practice what I preach.
What is one way that you take care of your own mental health every day? Why is this habit so important for you?
I practice gratitude every day. I actively recognise the good things in my life, the stuff, the people, the opportunities I’m fortunate to have. The pandemic taught us that much of what we assume to be normal life can be taken away in an instant—I hope we can all be grateful for those things when we get to do or have them again.
What book would you say has had the biggest positive impact on your life? Why?
Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts (Plume, 2014) by…Guy Winch. So yes, I wrote it but I had to do a ton of research for it – research I might not have done otherwise – and I learned so much from that research. These were things that really improved my life for the better, in terms of emotional health and my own life satisfaction – and things I practice to this day. The book had a huge impact on me personally, and an even bigger impact professionally.
If you could encapsulate the key piece of wisdom you've acquired over your life in regards to your own mental wellbeing, what would that be?
It’s something that I think is true of most people: we are more resilient than we realise, we adapt more quickly to difficult circumstances than we realise, and we have greater emotional strength that we realise. We can bounce back from hardship, failure, or disappointment and be stronger for it afterwards.
See more of Dr Guy's Series 'Easing Loneliness' in the Unmind platform, or get in touch to find out how Unmind can help nurture your organisation's mental health.