When you hear the terms ‘Mental Health or Mental Illness’, what comes to mind? Maybe you feel these terms are not relevant to your life, maybe it’s all too real. It is believed that 45% of Australian’s will experience some sort of mental health condition in their lifetime (Beyond Blue). The reality is that in the same way we are either physically healthy or unhealthy we are also mentally healthy or unhealthy.
My day job provokes a lot of stress, fear and anxiety, and as a result I sometimes feel withdrawn, depressed and a desire to quit. For me, it is essential to engage in healthy mental practices to simply stay on top of my mental well-being.
Below I have listed some points articulating my belief that the simple act of ‘talking to someone about your feelings’ is fundamental in staying mentally healthily.
For most of these points to work it is essential that you talk to someone you trust – whether it be family, friends, colleagues or a professional.
- Like getting a massage and stretching your muscles, verbally unloading your feelings can literally release physical tension from your body, especially if it’s the first time you have vocalised the problem.
- Talking about how you feel in response to an issue or problem can help you feel validated. For example, a friend of mine was in a stage of limbo with a massive employment prospect that could mean moving interstate. This was causing him to feel off because of all the pressure it placed on him and his relationship. When he opened up to me, I was able to validate his feelings because I know how pressure can leave a person off balance. Our simple conversation allowed him to see that his feelings were normal and that things weren’t as bad as they felt.
- Talking to someone may help you see your problems from a different perspective. Often our emotions can act as blinders and I find that hearing from someone else can help change our perspectives.
- Talking about your feelings may remind you of past times when you have gone through something similar and come out the other side. Often when you think about your stressors from, say, five years ago and compare them to what you deal with now, it can seem like child’s play. Remembering this can help you understand that this too shall pass.
As important as it is you talk about your feelings, I believe that it is also very important to listen and be there for the ones we love and are close too. If you notice anyone you know who hasn’t seemed themselves lately, I encourage you to simply ask them if they are ok, lend them your ear or even offer to seek professional help with them. You never know, it could just save their life.
In some cases talking to a close friend or family member may not be enough. In that case I recommend you see your doctor and ask about a mental health plan. This will allow you to receive professional counselling for FREE. If anything I have shared has caused you to feel distressed you can call lifeline on 13 11 14 and speak to someone.