Addressing health problems with emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence can help people self-regulate their emotions, habits and mental health and reduce healthcare costs

Introduction: Imagine a low-cost solution, rooted in learning, that could empower people to manage their own mental health, self-regulate their habits around food and drink, and reduce the cost of healthcare. Problems which emerge from our thinking can be prevented and more easily resolved if we live with emotional intelligence, with a deeper understanding of ourselves and how our minds work.

Here are some health problems that fall into this category. The global cost of each of them is more than a trillion dollars. The hyperlinks link to the relevant sections of the HappierMe app.

1. Depression: 1 in 6 people in the UK experience moderate to severe depression(ONS), and the numbers are higher in the US.

2. Teen mental health: 1 in 7, 10-19 year olds suffer a mental health problem worldwide (WHO).

3. Stress: impacts our mental and physical health. An IPSOS poll in 2022 in 34 countries said 60% of people reported feeling stressed to the point they could not cope. The US Surgeon General reports that 76% of employees report a mental health problem. The American institute of stress reported 77% of people experience stress that impacts their physical health.

4. Obesity: affects 42% of Americans, 28% of Britons, and 1 billion people worldwide are obese (WHO). In most cases, obesity is a dysfunction of thinking, in our inability to self-regulate.

5. Excess alcohol consumption is linked to 200 diseases and causes 3 million deaths worldwide (WHO). This is alo an inability to self-regulate.

6. Drug addiction In 2021, 107000 people died of an opioid overdose in the US. 35 million people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders (WHO).

7. Smoking: 1.3 billion people worldwide smoke and it accounts for 8 million premature deaths per year (WHO).

8. Suicide 700,000 people a year take their own lives, and many times as many attempt to do so (WHO). This is preventable.

9. Every physical disease has a psychological impact which causes so much distress. This distress worsens our overall health. At present modern medicine offers little help for this, focusing on the physical illness instead.

10. Anxiety affects up to 60% of people and is on the increase (MIND). It is a reaction from our mind to external challenges and an attempt to control the future. It can be disabling.

How can emotional intelligence help prevent these problems and more easily resolve them?

1. Our mind assumes that our stress, anxiety, unhappiness, and depression are caused by external events. We do not realise that our feelings are caused by how our mind reacts to these events, because no two people react in the same way to the same event. Our reactions, which determine our feelings, come from all our accumulated conditioning influences. We are not aware we have been conditioned, and yet become attached to this conditioning - and this shapes our opinions, beliefs, the stories we tell ourselves, and our behaviour. Being aware of this process helps us be in charge of how we react, and we can then self-regulate our emotions.

2. Stress is just the difference between how things are and how we want them to be. To get over stress we can either change the event, or our reaction to it. Emotional intelligence gives us the ability to change how we react, and that can put us in control of our own lives.

3. Besides our conditioning there are many other hidden drivers in our own thinking that contribute to our own stress [See the Causes of stress session in the Stress module in the app]. These include comparison, fear, our reactive mind, our need for external approval, our various emotional needs, and so on. None of these are right or wrong, but just need to be understood. This understanding does all the work of bringing change. This is not to say that life’s challenges are not real, and do not need addressing. Being less stressed can help us address them much more effectively.

4. Unhappy relationships are a major cause of poor mental health. A deeper understanding of ourselves helps us to understand others better, and realise that deep down our minds function in similar ways. This leads to empathy and compassion, and can both prevent problems and heal our divisions.

5. We think obesity, smoking, excess alcohol consumption and psychoactive drug use are different problems, but they have their roots in the same hidden drivers in our thinking - and understanding them can bring behavioural change. More importantly, this can help prevent these problems from taking root.

A. Our conditioning plays a significant role - if we are in an environment where a lot of people are smoking, or drinking, and seem to be having fun, then we want that for ourselves and never pause to consider the consequences.

B. Our inner boredom and need for pleasure [see app modules for details] are powerful drivers and can drive our behaviour to eat more than we need Jo, or drink in excess, or take drugs. All pleasure is fleeting however, and then the mind needs more and more for the same effect - and that is how addiction develops. Through breathing exercises and a deeper self-understanding we can better self-regulate our behaviour and be at peace with ourselves

C. Many of our behaviours are driven by our inability to understand and process our emotional pain - so numbing it with alcohol or drugs is a tempting option. Emotional intelligence offers the possibility of avoiding emotional pain in the first place, and giving us options for dealing with it in healthier ways [See modules on Addiction, Emotional needs, and the podcast on emotional pain ].

6. Dealing with the psychological impact of illness is much easier if one has developed an inner resilience through self-understanding, and understands the nature of fear, and has tools in place to deal with challenges.

7. Suicide prevention: [ Listen to our podcast on suicide prevention ]. A deeper self-understanding builds resilience, and is like learning to swim, so when the challenges of life arrive we can swim through them, and not drown.

How can we get people to embrace this self-understanding and transform their lives? What will motivate them to do so?

1. This is the challenging part. To do this we created the HappierMe app with more than 70 modules, in collaboration with experts from around the world, offering people different ways of engaging with the content. In addition to the program for adults, we are developing one for teenagers. Children as young as 8 grasp this understanding easily - it is simple - but the impact can be profound.

2. We begin where people are and help them deal with whatever challenge they face - relationships, addiction, or mental health, or if they just want to boost their communication skills.

3. Wherever people begin, the app helps them deal with the immediate problem [ breathing exercises, videos, journaling, meditations ] and then takes them deeper to understand their own thinking. That deeper understanding does the work of bringing behavioural change.

4. If we can embed this deeper self-understanding as a subject in education worldwide, we can transform healthcare in a generation, by giving people the tools to manage their own mental health, self-regulate their emotions and their behaviour, and live in peace with themselves and others.

5. This entire project is not based on any ideology - but just on looking and learning about ourselves.

Links to explore:

If this is of interest and you would like to explore a collaboration, please get in touch to begin a conversation.

Understand your mind. Live a happier life.

Life can be tough. The HappierMe app is your personal guide to help you feel better now, but also to take you deeper to understand your thoughts and feelings. It supports you to become the person you want to be, to be happier, manage your emotions and  succeed in the world. There are also coaches you can speak to through the app.

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved