Lots of people hesitate to talk about their feelings, believing it’s a sign of emotional weakness. Others don’t because they’re afraid to express their true selves. And for some, it can be hard to identify emotions. Although talking about feelings is difficult, it has many benefits that far outweigh potential embarrassment. Here’s how talking can help.
It’s cathartic. It’s normal to feel stressed out, anxious and depressed when dealing with life’s challenges, like breaking up with a partner, losing a job, or grieving a death, but keeping our feelings pent up can be emotionally overwhelming. When we allow ourselves to voice our challenges and feelings, we release some of that tension and stress.
We gain new perspectives. Talking about our feelings and problems with friends, family or a therapist allows us to hear our own thoughts. Solutions often naturally occur to us, but if they don’t, friends and family can make helpful suggestions.
Talking deepens intimacy. Sharing the ups and downs of life with our friends and family strengthens our emotional ties and gives us the feeling of belonging that we need to emotionally thrive. Having close friends enriches our lives and decreases our risks for depression, anxiety and loneliness.
We develop “self-talk” skills. Talking to ourselves can help with changing the way we think and act. Self-talk works by erasing our inner critic and counterproductive thoughts and replaces them with positive and productive ones. Develop self-talk skills by making a list of your negative thoughts and then create a series of positive statements to counteract those negative beliefs.