Content of the material
Why does talking about it help?
Getting a new job, breaking up with a bad partner or investing in your own self-improvement are all practical things you can do to solve problems in your life. But what good does just talking about it do? When you’re fighting the exhausting uphill battle against your own negative feelings, it can seem as if talking about it is the least productive thing you can do.
Why would someone hide their feelings?
There are many reasons why people hide their true feelings and not express them. To safeguard their relationships, people often suppress their emotions. You may opt to hide your dissatisfaction when someone you care about does something disturbing. Yes, you were troubled by their conduct. However, if they react adversely when you express your feelings, you risk inciting an even more painful argument.
Is having no friends bad for your health?
Becoming socially isolated is extremely harmful to one’s health. Since the 1980s, studies have revealed that if you don’t have friends, family, or social links you have a 50 percent higher probability of dying young than if you have. Social isolation is currently being promoted as being just as harmful to one’s health as smoking or not exercising.
Having someone to talk to is vital to your physical and emotional well-being. While there might be barriers that make it more difficult to build connections, there are steps you can take to improve your social support system.
Reconnecting with people you already know, seeking new connections online, talking to a mental health professional, or calling a help hotline are all options you might consider depending on your needs.
I need to talk to someone about my mental health. But how can I do it properly?
Even when we know it would do us the world of good, sometimes it can be difficult to talk about your mental health. Remember there is strength in vulnerability. But, if you still find it tough, here are a few tips to help you start the conversation…
Choose the right person to talk to
Ever opened up to someone and felt more deflated than before? Chances are you talked to the wrong person. If you’re talking about relationship difficulties they may have their own biases and opinions on the matter, or perhaps they simply aren’t in the right headspace at the moment to help. Talk to a trusted friend who can support you, without enabling any bad habits (e.g. excess alcohol consumption or ruminating over bad thoughts). And if you don’t want to offload onto one person, it might be helpful to speak to multiple people so they don’t get overwhelmed. Try and find someone who has shared experience too. Knowing they’ve been through something similar might make it easier to share and feel heard.
Right time, right place
There’s a time and a place for this conversation, and when you’re sharing vulnerable feelings, it’s only natural that you want to do it somewhere you feel comfortable and safe. Pick a spot where you would feel okay if you got tearful, and maybe stay clear of potential eavesdroppers or prying eyes. It might also be helpful to give your friend a heads up. Ask them if they have the time and emotional capacity to talk about something serious. That way, they won’t be distracted and you’ll both be well-equipped to tackle your problems head on.
Speak to a therapist
As much as our friends and family want to be there for us through thick and thin, if we’re really struggling, it’s important to reach out for professional help. Not only will your therapist provide a listening ear, but unlike a friend, they’re literally trained to help you work through issues – whether they’re big or small.
They’ll also be able to equip you with healthier coping mechanisms and ways of thinking and responding to situations to ensure the same kinds of issues don’t reappear.
Although therapists have a reputation for dealing with mental health issues, you might find therapy useful even if your problems are more surface-level. You could go to therapy if you’re overly stressed, for personal development or simply because you want someone to talk to. Regardless of your goal, chances are you’ll come out of it with a whole new perspective.
Acknowledge the bad – but appreciate the good
Life has its fair share of ups and downs. But when you’re struggling with your mental health, it can feel like one problem always snowballs into another. However, even in our darkest moments, there are often glimmers of joy, whether it’s a cosy coffee date with a friend or a kind message from a relative.
It’s just as important to share these little moments of happiness, as well as our problems. Not only does it help reinforce them in our brains but it also might help us practice gratitude and connect with our loved ones. This doesn’t take away from the hurt and distress we are experiencing, it simply reminds us that we can still find joy in hardship, that life won’t always feel so difficult and that we’ve got a support network who have our back.