Why it’s important to talk about your emotions
Mental health is a critical component of our overall wellbeing, but it’s a topic that’s often shrouded in silence and shame. Despite the fact that an estimated 970 million people around the world suffer from mental health issues, the topic remains stigmatised and difficult to talk about.
However, the reality is that talking about your challenges is usually the best way to find solutions and improve your mindset. Suffering in silence often leads to a build-up of unresolved feelings that may prolong symptoms of depression and anxiety.
In this article, we talk about the subject so many are afraid to discuss: Emotional health. We describe the negative consequences of bottling up your emotions, explain why it’s important to discuss your emotions and share a few ways you might consider sharing your emotions.
The negative effects of bottling up emotions
When emotions are suppressed, they do not disappear. Instead, they can build up over time, creating a sense of internal pressure that can become overwhelming.
A sense of ‘impending doom’, or just plain worrying about the future, is the core essence of anxiety. These fears and worries have a tendency to escalate over time leading to ‘catastrophising’ situations which have not yet occurred (and probably never will!).
When emotions are not expressed, it can create a sense of internal conflict and confusion. You may start to feel like you don’t know yourself or understand your own emotions. Unfortunately, this can lead to a sense of hopelessness and despair.
Additionally, suppressing emotions can prevent you from connecting with others and seeking support. The resulting isolation can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and often make you feel like ‘nobody cares’.
When emotions are suppressed, it can prevent you from addressing the underlying issues that are causing the emotions in the first place. This can lead to a sense of powerlessness and frustration, which ultimately contributes to stress.
Bottling up emotions may also prevent you from seeking support or advice from others. The feeling of having to ‘tackle everything by yourself’ can exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety.
Physical health issues
Stress, anxiety and depression can have serious repercussions on your physical health. Data show that stress has the ability to impact a variety of the body’s systems, including respiratory, immune, reproductive, hormone and nervous systems.
The benefits of talking about your emotions
Being open and honest with the people around you can breathe fresh air into your relationships. It can help you build trust, openness and mutual respect with the most important people in your life.
Deciding to open up about your emotions may also invite a reciprocal response. It gives people a reason to trust you and lets them know you’re open to a more meaningful relationship.
Gaining the trust of your peers and becoming an outlet for their feelings will likely make both of you feel secure and positive.
We all know that it’s difficult to ask for help – but maybe you don’t even need to ask. Just sharing your thoughts and concerns with those around you opens the gateway for fresh perspective.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see the best plan of attack when you’re in the trenches. Getting somebody from the outside may give you that birds-eye view required to find the right direction.
Just saying your thoughts out loud may actually improve your understanding of self. It’s easy to get tangled in a web of emotion that’s driven by outside influence and forget to check in with how you actually feel.
Having self-awareness gives you understanding of your own emotions so you can make decisions aligned with your best interests. Pursuing things you’re actually passionate about will move you towards contentment, fulfilment and joy.
Sharing your emotions takes courage. It requires you to be vulnerable, let down your guard, expose your true feelings and let people see the real you.
Putting yourself out there and receiving positivity in return can foster confidence in yourself. It will make you less afraid to express your personality in the future and allow you to accept yourself on a new level.
We can be so hard on ourselves. It’s often the case that people tell themselves things they wouldn’t say to their worst enemy.
Turning around this negative self-talk is much easier when you share your emotions with another human being. Just sharing your feelings about self out loud is often enough to recognise and address unhelpful thought patterns.
How to start talking about your emotions
Talking about your emotions is a big step. The thought of unloading your deepest feelings on somebody can feel overwhelming and often discourages people from opening up.
Opening up doesn’t mean you need to offload your most private emotions, it may simply mean consciously sharing about the small things that bother you. Once you get more comfortable, you may feel inclined to share more.
Limit your expectations
Going into a conversation with expectations of how the other person should react may set you up for frustration. Their behaviour is outside of your control and your emotional wellbeing cannot be predicated on their ability to console you.
Before starting the conversation, take a moment to reflect on why you’re sharing these thoughts. If you’re seeking validation or sympathy, you may be disappointed.
Find the right person
Not everybody is open to having deep and meaningful conversations. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you, it just means they’re not mentally available to discuss emotional topics.
Sharing with a spouse, family member or close friend requires you to be aware of the other person’s situation. Remember that your emotions also impact their mental health – so timing is crucial.
If you are struggling to find an outlet for these feelings, counselling or life coaching may provide you a safe space to communicate your emotions.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to bottle up your emotions. It’s not big, clever or noble. It’s often harmful.
In a world where people are becoming increasingly isolated, having these conversations have become even more important. The feeling of connection humans need cannot be obtained through social media or surface-level chat with work acquaintances.
Expressing your emotions could have great benefit for every aspect of your health and wellbeing. It could bring you closer to people than ever before and contribute to a life full of contentment and peace.