These days, so many people struggle with overwhelming emotions of fear, stress, and worry. While some people know how to cope with these emotions, others clam up and keep it to themselves. However, the latter will not do you any good. The good thing is that when you’re feeling overwhelmed, talking about your feelings is a simple yet effective tool. So why do most of us avoid it?
Talking sounds counterintuitive to many. On top of that, there are a lot of reasons why opening up can be difficult. Some people, especially men, are conditioned to keep their feelings to themselves. For others, dealing with emotions, such as guilt or shame, can feel too much that they don’t know how to talk about it.
However, talking has powerful benefits that you cannot ignore. But don’t limit yourself to talking to a trusted friend. You can also speak with a licensed therapist or open up about your struggles online. The key is to have a conversation with another person. This way, you can better examine and express what you’re feeling.
The science behind “talking about it”
Talking about your problems is good for your brain and body, and science proves it. Your intense feelings occur in the amygdala, a part of the brain that is also responsible for your fight or flight response. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, the amygdala can override logical thought processes. This explains why you often make impulsive decisions when you feel overwhelmed.
Research suggests that expressing your feelings, and finding the words to do so can diminish the response of the amygdala in upsetting situations.
Another study found that writing about traumatic experiences or going to talk therapy positively impacted an individual’s health and immune system. According to the study, holding back thoughts and emotions is stressful, compromising the immune system. This is because the effort required to repress negative feelings takes a toll on your brain and body. Eventually, this makes you more prone to getting sick.
However, not all forms of talking are beneficial. Beware of co-rumination, where all parties consistently focus on negative experiences. This can have the opposite effect. Instead, focus on talking about problems more constructively.
Choosing the right person to talk to plays a huge role in ensuring that your talk time is constructive. Enlist a supportive, trusted friend. And if you need advice on a particular problem, it is better to find someone who has gone through it and, ideally, has resolved them.
You can also find a therapist. Discard the preconceived notion that therapy is only for those with mental illness. Talking to a psychologist or a psychiatrist can help even when you’re feeling too stressed. And the great thing about talking to a professional is that they can view your issues more objectively than a friend would.
Lastly, remember that the goal of talking about your problems is to understand why you’re feeling the way you do. If you can’t seem to arrive at an understanding, at the very least, talking should improve your mood. However, when you find yourself getting worked up, take a break.How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed? Please share your experiences with the rest of the community in the comments section below.