Updated: Jun 20
Discussing your problems with others isn’t easy for everyone. Through our years of counselling, I’ve seen many people struggle to express their stress and anxiety, especially when the issues hit right at home. And that is understandable. However, I encourage you to talk your heart out with someone you trust.
Talking to someone (or talking therapy) maintains and improves your mind in many ways. It helps you re-explore the problems, releases suppressed feelings, and opens your mind to guidance and consolation. Additionally, your listener may even help you discover the overlooked solution to the problem too.
I understand how hard it would be to overcome the fear of sharing personal issues. But everyone needs an occasional outlet. So please, read on and let these 5 benefits of talking therapy give you the necessary push.
How does talking therapy improve mental health?
Modern research has found a positive relationship between speaking your mind and mental health. And you might have come across some online too. But before diving into the topic, I’d like to discuss the other end of the matter first.
Why do we keep personal problems to ourselves?
Many like to say that human intelligence separates us from other animals. However, you might be surprised that we constantly ignore our intellect and make decisions based on innate instincts. More specifically, innate fear.
But what kind of fear lurks within sharing our insecurity? Here are the 2 most common answers.
Fear of ignorance
Fear of ignorance here is not to be mistaken with ignorance phobia.
Acknowledgement plays an impactful role in human lives. Everyone wants to be recognised as who they are — good, bad, or ugly. And these recognitions include personality, achievements, and issues.
When you share your trouble with someone, you’d instinctively expect them to listen and acknowledge your problem. However, there’s also the possibility that your listener will treat your experience as trivial and take no action at all.
In this situation, you would feel as if the pain in your chest is insignificant — like it doesn’t matter. You are the only one who feels the pain, and nobody cares. Naturally, no one wants to feel that way.
At this point, the fear of this possibility will take over, tricking you into thinking that being quiet is better than being ignored. As a result, you may choose to keep it all to yourself.
Fear of rejection
Rejection is dreadful. The possibility of hearing a “no” or “you’re wrong” from someone you trust is enough to freeze you in place. And this possibility exists in talking about your problem as well. (Source)
Since the matter is bothering you, you must have an opinion. And saying that opinion out loud can put you in a vulnerable spot. Your listener might find fault in your logic or even punish you for thinking in such a way.
What happens next is you might feel out of place. The thought that “I’m the only one thinking this way” might flash through your mind. Moreover, you could even feel betrayed if the listener is someone you’re deeply connected with.
Therefore, seeking refuge in silence is how people often deal with problems.
Now, you should see why keeping quiet is an understandable action. Overcoming these fears is a herculean feat not everyone can do. However, I still want you to open up and have someone listen. The benefit you get can outweigh the risk you will be taking.
5 mental benefits of talking to someone
#1 Lift your emotional burden
An emotional outlet is necessary to maintain your psyche. Everyone accumulates pent-up feelings daily — gradually or rapidly. And if you don’t have a way to let them out, they could erupt in the most undesirable manner.
Speaking your heart out with someone allows you to set free these suppressed emotions. The moment words pour out of your lips, you technically force your feelings out with them too. And at the same time, you overcome the fear of sharing personal thoughts. (Source)
This process also helps release the stress you accumulate too. Thinking about your problem alone is more stressful than you might think. Thus, speaking out can ease your exhausted mind.
#2 Revisit the core of the problem
Sometimes, contemplating the problems in your head causes you to miss crucial details of what happened. The human brain is magical yet mysterious. If push comes to shove, it can alter your memory to reduce the damage your mind might receive.
Speaking your problem out loud forces you to recount what really happened and how you really feel. You could spot the discontinuation in your story and rediscover the truth. Or even better, you might realise that the matter isn’t as bad as you imagined.
At the same time, take this chance to reorganise your thoughts and feelings. Once everything becomes clear, ask yourself how you really feel about it. Find the true cause of your turmoil. Understand your own feelings. Then, you may find a way to handle your emotions.
#3 Open yourself to consolation
Sometimes, what we need is a bit of empathy and understanding.
The sense of belonging is crucial to human survival. And having someone listening to you can create that moment of acceptance.
In psychology, we have a theory called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In his study, Maslow divided human needs for survival into 5 tiers. (Source)
Physiology like food, water, shelter, air, etc.
Safety like personal security, employment, health, property
Love and belonging like friendship, family, connection, acceptance
Esteem like self-esteem, status, respect, recognition
Self-actualisation like the desire to be the best version of yourself
Note that the sense of belonging and acceptance is among these needs too. You can’t survive if you don’t belong anywhere. Having a place to go back to is the best consolation you can get. So, find that place. Find someone who will listen and lighten the weight in your chest.
#4 Discover the solution
Two heads are better than one. This saying also applies to mental health and stress management since talking to someone opens you up for support. Good or bad, this support creates a space for reflection and could lead you to a realisation.
Remember that your listeners may have something to say about your matter. As a third party, they have a better overview of the situation. Therefore, they can suggest a solution you have overlooked since you're so close to the problem.
#5 Connect with others
This is your opportunity to deepen your bonds with those close to you. A serious conversation can make your relationship more meaningful and fulfilling. You will find comfort in talking to them, encouraging you to come back and chat again in the future.
If you decide to talk with a stranger, you can even start a new relationship. Experiencing something new can refresh your psyche and bring in a different kind of peace. That’s why some people talk to another patron at a bar over a drink rather than at home.
Someone to talk to
Although discussing your personal problem can be dreadful, I still advise you to speak up. Shutting yourself in won’t change anything. Overcome your fear of ignorance and rejection and discover the care and love you deserve.
If you aren’t sure of who to talk to, start with someone you trust. But if that proves difficult, I’m also here for you as a professional counsellor. Connect with me at Studio Lindberg, and let’s start our conversation.