How do you feel?

How often do you honestly say how you feel when you don’t feel particularly good?

It’s fairly easy to talk about how happy you are, how much you’re looking forward to something or how great you feel. But when it comes to saying I feel low, I feel sad or I’m not feeling my best, most of us are much less willing to be open.

Instead you’ll find yourself saying things like ‘I’m fine’ even though you don’t mean it at all. Feeling sad or feeling low isn’t a bad thing, it isn’t something that you have to hide.

And sometimes all you need to feel better is to simply talk about why you don’t feel so great.

Talking when it’s easy

It’s easy to talk about the weather, your favourite TV show, what you had for dinner and what you got up to at the weekend.

But often when it comes to topics like mental health, fears and struggles suddenly talking becomes difficult.

Part of why it’s so difficult is because we don’t do it enough. What if having difficult conversations could be made easier with practice?

Talking when it’s difficult often requires you to venture out into new territory even if it is with someone you’re familiar with. But what you gain from having difficult conversations is what makes it worth doing.

Things that help

Just a little reminder for whenever you get overwhelmed with everything that is going on. It can be easy to forget how far you’ve come or all the helpful things that you’ve learnt.

Going for a walk – I think this must be one of the most popular things that people do to clear their head plus it gets the body moving.

Sitting in silence – We rarely sit in silence there’s always something whether you’re listening by choice or it’s background noise like music, TV or a conversation.

Talking to a friend – Choose someone that will listen but be mindful and ask before offloading. You don’t have to even talk about the issue at hand maybe just have a random chat about life.

Talking to a stranger – Not literally but some that is unbiased and not part of your everyday life like a therapist or a helpline set up to support people with different issues they’re facing.

Meditation – Maybe your mediation is sitting in silence but maybe it’s a guided mediation to ease stress or anxiety. It helps to be still sometimes and we often underestimate the impact it can have because we feel like it won’t help to just stop or at least slow down.

EFT – Also known as tapping. This is probably one of the most unexpectedly helpful things I’ve ever come across. I love that it doesn’t require any materials and is easy to do.

Laughter – They call laughter the medicine of life and I believe it. Something funny can totally shift your mood on days when you feel down.

Dancing – Dancing brings me so much joy and it’s another way to get the body moving. When your feeling down and remain still it enables the emotions to become heavy and weigh you down. Plus if dancing is something you associate with fun or celebrations it’ll actually help you feel better.

Uplifting words – Whether it’s podcasts, talks, songs or books, find words that uplift you. I even find it helpful to read back my own words because much of what I write is timeless and based around overcoming challenges.

Don’t just talk to anyone

I think I’ve used the phrase talking helps at least half a dozen times on this site (turns out I was exactly spot on as shown below).

Talking helps

Making a breakthrough

Worth seeking advice from

Managing stress and deadlines

When you don’t have anyone to talk to

Unexpected but needed

I say it because that’s what has works for me and like everything I share here it comes from my experience. If this was around 3 or 4 years ago things would have been very different. Back then, I wasn’t talking about the challenges that I was facing or things that I struggled with because I didn’t know how.

Plus, at the time I didn’t think that talking would help.

But I also think a lot of people forget to mention that it’s more than just talking to anyone.

For example, the person that is feeling suicidal might not to find much solace in talking to their friends. Their friends aren’t equipped or trained to help in that kind of situation.  Friends not knowing what to say doesn’t make them bad people.

Instead they might find it more helpful to talk to a professional, someone with training or someone who can relate to their experience.

Further to that, think about you want the outcome from talking to be. Of course there’s no magic fix but if you just want someone to listen and leave you feeling hopeful, talking to the person that will just dismiss your issues probably isn’t the best idea.

And if you don’t have anyone to talk to, that’s okay too.

If you live in the UK or Ireland call Samaritans on 116 123.

For anyone else the country you live in probably has a helpline you can call too.

Unexpected but needed

I recently had an unexpected conversation that I didn’t expect to have yet at the same time it was exactly what I needed.

It can be difficult to let people know that you need a little bit of reassurance once in a while. However, sometimes maybe it’s not even really reassurance but instead just to talk about your vulnerabilities and the things that scare you. It turned out that my situation I was discussing in conversation wasn’t as unique as I thought but that’s a good thing.

It made me understand that the challenges I was facing and the things I was struggling with we’re just life. That’s not to say that life is about challenges and struggles though.

I realised that in thinking my current circumstances were not the way things were supposed to be, I was pushing against them and filling my mind with fear when really what I needed to do was embrace them.

And after that conversation, the challenges and struggles didn’t seem so bad at all. I guess it’s like I always say, talking helps.

When you don’t have anyone to talk to

Through this blog you may have read the phrase ‘talking helps’ at least once or twice.

I’m an advocate for talking because it is something that has changed my life and I think it’s something that at time is overlooked.

As much as I can advocate for people to talk more, the truth is not everyone has someone they can talk to.

Perhaps you don’t have any friends, you’re scared to open up to a family member, you can’t afford a therapist/counselling or you’re on a GP waiting list that could take over 6 months.

Talking might not solve the issue but being able to get things off your chest can work wonders for your well-being.

There’s a free service called Samaritans that you can use to call, email, write a letter or even visit in person to talk face to face. They’re available in various countries around the world including America, UK and Australia

Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide…

You don’t have to wait until you’re on the edge and life is getting to be too much, in fact you shouldn’t. Personally over the past year in particular I’ve found that talking about things more in general stops things becoming so overwhelming.

I think it’s lovely that these kinds of free services exist and I wanted to share it with you because it might be helpful for you or to pass on to someone you know.

 

Self-depreciating

But make it humorous.

How many times have you gone into a situation and rejected yourself or put yourself down before others had the chance?

And of course you don’t just say it out right, you make a joke because everyone likes to laugh. If it’s at your expense, maybe they’ll keep you around.

It’s interesting to identify the why behind your actions or the actions of others. It gives you a greater understanding and the opportunity to practice compassion.

So, maybe you could stop making those self deprecating jokes and try a vulnerable conversation with a friend (or someone else you’re comfortable talking to) instead.

Overcoming and explanations

If you take the time to read (or listen enough you’ll find that science (or philosophy or spirituality or whatever floats your boat) can explain everything.

And once you know there’s a reason behind something, especially if it’s difficult or challenging it might help you overcome it.

It turns out that the secrets of who we are and how we feel aren’t that that rare. You’re not the only one who… [insert thing here].

You might think you are because you’ve never spoken about it, because you don’t know anyone that’s spoken about it or maybe you feel so dreadful about it that you can’t imagine anyone else has to deal with this ‘thing’ and life too.

I’ve had many challenges that felt pretty overwhelming at times and then came Godin, Sinek, Dweck, Eagleman and podcasts.

After a while I began to understand that maybe this stuff wasn’t ‘the end of the world’ but instead part of it and it didn’t have to stay with me forever.

And of course writing has helped immensely because that’s the power of telling stories of life.

Making a breakthrough

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, talking helps.

When used correctly it’s an excellent tool for self exploration where you can walk away from conversations and gain insight into aspects of yourself you hadn’t yet uncovered.

The beauty of it is that you don’t have to even need talking about the thing. However, you do have to be open and vulnerable to allow things to rise to the surface.

Yes, it might feel scary or uncomfortable but you don’t have to hold onto those feelings.

Do it, because you believe that by exploring your mind it’ll help you figure some things out and that might lead to a breakthrough.

Talk but don’t dwell

Often when we talk about difficult things we get so caught up in the story that we end up dwelling on it.

Sometimes to the point where we end up reliving it and our bodies remember exactly how it felt.

It could be a time you felt rejected, overwhelmed or ignored.

It’s not difficult to understand that those are things you might want to speak about. But it is important that you’re not just talking about it for the sake of it.

Talking is an amazing tool that you can use to help get past or overcome challenges but also just to get things off your chest.

However, if every few days you’re having conversations telling the same story about a situation that didn’t feel good, that’s just dwelling and it’s probably not going to benefit you in any way either.

It’s like that popular quote says:

Where attention goes energy flows

If you catch yourself telling the same stories over and over stop and ask, why?

It could be because you’re not over it and you still have strong emotions attached to whatever happened. If it’s something you want to get past, start with learning how to let go.