Why it’s important to talk honestly about stress

For many people, the only acceptable answer to the question “How are you?” it’s “I’m fine!” – even if they are completely stressed and overwhelmed. And the thought of a more honest answer – for example, “actually, I’m dealing with a lot of stress now and I could be helped,” may seem too scary and vulnerable.

Everyone, no matter how “together” they seem, faces periods of severe stress. But for whatever reason so many people think they need to keep stress to themselves – which is not only unhealthy but also unsustainable. You can’t navigate stressful situations and move on to the other side if you don’t recognize stress – or, in other words, if you want to deal with your stress, you need to talk about it.

But why is it so important to talk honestly about stress? How can discovering what you are experiencing relieve stress? And if you’re not used to talking about stress, how can you open up and start talking more honestly and truthfully about stress in your life?

Why it’s important to reveal about stress

You may think that without talking about stress and without acknowledging it, the stress will go away. But, as it turns out, the opposite is true – and stress can not only worsen stress, but also negatively affect your health. “Our bodies continue to hold on to those feelings and emotions that we don’t release,” says a licensed marriage and family therapist from California. Morgan Gule. “Prolonged stress is especially harmful to the body.”

For example, if you are dealing with prolonged stress, it can translate your body into a chronic state of fights, fright, or stiffness, which can interfere with your ability to focus and do anything to get the job done. “Maintaining constant activity and participating in our fight / flight / freezing is like constantly sounding the alarm in your house; leaving us always on the coast, in fear and anxiety, and unable to think clearly or logically to successfully perform daily tasks and responsibilities, ”says Amanda Kostura, an independent social worker and founder. Cut your own path, a mental health practitioner in Akron, Ohio.

Reluctance or inability to speak honestly about stress can also isolate you from the people around you and prevent you from getting the support you need to manage feelings of congestion and get to a better, healthier and less stressful place. “If we don’t let people know how we really feel, we can’t get the support or help we might need,” Gule says.

The benefit of an honest conversation about stress

Of course, not being honest about stress can have serious consequences. But discovering the stress you are experiencing brings no less serious benefits.

Honestly about stress, you can get support. First, an honest conversation about your stress gives people in your life an understanding of how you are doing, and gives them an understanding that you may need extra support.

“An open conversation about our stress, even if it’s just a message to someone that we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, gives them a reason to know that we’re struggling and we may need support or flexibility,” Gule says.

Honestly about stress, you can strengthen your relationship. A more open conversation about the stress you are experiencing can also help you manifest yourself in a relationship in a more authentic way – which can ultimately strengthen that relationship and bring you closer to the people in your life.

“By talking more honestly about how you feel, you’re starting to deepen your relationship with that person,” Gule says. «

“Working together with the right people creates better, deeper relationships and allows others to be a support when we need them most,” he says. Dr. Julie Gurner, Ph.D. and performance coach in New York City. “If you want to be around others, it’s important to let others be around you.”

Honestly about stress, you can validate your experience and test the experiences of others. Talking openly about stressful experiences and feelings can also make you feel less lonely. When you share your stress with someone else, “they can confirm, empathize, or normalize your feelings, which feels good and builds trust,” Gule says.

And this verification experience can go both ways. “When you start to become more open and honest, this person starts to develop more trust in you and can share both they are feeling, ”Gule says.

“Learning the language of sincere communication about our emotions not only helps us heal, but also confirms similar experiences of others,” Kastura says.

Honest conversations can help you overcome stress and make the necessary changes to live a less stressful life. It is impossible to cope with stress if you do not recognize it. By acknowledging and talking about your stress, you can start to fight it – and figure out what changes you need to make to relieve that stress and start feeling better.

“Sometimes, by bottling, people can avoid dealing with the very real effects of stress,” says a licensed mental health consultant in New York City. Kelly Keck. “By giving space to these emotions and making them ‘real,’ someone can truly start working through that stress.”

“Causing stress and identifying the factors that contribute to it can also lead to important reflections on the state of affairs in the country. [your] life, ”Keck continues. “Maybe it’s time for a change, or a limit, or a mental health disorder … talking about it can bring those needs closer.”

How to start talking more openly about stress

Honestly about stress, you can become a happier and healthier person. But if you’re used to behaving as if everything is okay (even if it’s not!), The thought of opening up about stress can make you feel, oddly enough, even more underlined.

Fortunately, you don’t need to open up to all about your stress when you are uncomfortable; you just need to be able to talk honestly with one man, at least for a start. “Look for only one person with whom you feel safe,” Kastura says. “Who do you feel supports you no matter what?”

Once you’ve figured out who you’re comfortable talking to, start by sharing a stressful situation or feeling you’re dealing with it – and be as open as possible about the details.

“Tell us about something specific, what you’re struggling with, what’s stressing or overwhelming you, and ask for feedback,” Gurner says. For example, instead of saying, “I feel so depressed,” try saying, “I feel so overwhelmed trying to balance work and child care now … how do you handle that? ”

If you share the specifics of what you’re going through, “instead of just getting empathy, you’ll get empathy – and someone who can give you some advice to help you navigate,” Gurner says.

If the person can do something to help you cope with stress, also use the conversation as an opportunity to ask for help. “Determine what anyone can do to reduce stress,” Gule says. “Would it be helpful for someone to pick up the kids one day, extend the term at work, or grab lunch with you? Ask them! »

Once you become more comfortable talking honestly with your “safe” person about stress, you can (if you want!) Start opening up to more people in your life. And instead of keeping stress inside (and fighting the consequences), talk about what you are going through, with the people you love (and feel the benefits of that openness).

If you do not have anyone with whom you are comfortable talking honestly about stress, you can also seek professional help; A therapist or trained mental health professional can be a great resource for listening, helping you focus on your feelings of stress and coming up with solutions that will help you better deal with stressful feelings and experiences.

Stress is a part of life. But talking openly and honestly about stress is the first step toward managing, recycling, and achieving a better (and less stressful!) Place.

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