Being honest during a therapy session is crucial for getting the proper help you need for a possible mental health condition. However, this is just as important throughout your everyday life. While you don’t always need to broadcast your feelings, which could put your privacy at risk, it’s important to at least be honest about your emotions to yourself when going through a difficult or challenging situation.
When trying to maintain a healthy work- or school-life balance, there may be times when you feel overwhelmed. Bottling these emotions up can have serious effects on your mental and even physical wellbeing. If you’re in need of additional mental health resources or you’d like to speak with a professional about any concerns or conditions, you can visit https://www.mytherapist.com/advice/counseling/ to speak with a counselor about your thoughts, emotions, and current circumstances.
Why You Should Communicate Your Feelings
Whether you’re working through mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, or you’re struggling with stress or loss, expressing yourself is a crucial part of the coping process. As one mental health expert site, The Friendship Bench, put it, talking about your emotions may feel “overwhelming and…more painful than dealing with it” on your own.
Sometimes, you may withhold your feelings because of stigmas like “someone else has it worse” or you need to “find the positive in things”. However, this is a form of toxic positivity that can end up increasing your stress and anxiety rather than soothing it. When you neglect or deny your negative feelings, you’re suppressing your body’s natural response to a difficult situation. For example, when you cry, your body releases stress hormones and it purges yourself of pent-up emotion. When you hold back tears for too long or stop yourself from releasing that negativity, it’s like refusing to put a cast on a broken bone.
How to Express Yourself in a Healthy Way
As mentioned earlier, you don’t necessarily have to update everyone on your current emotions whenever something goes wrong. The main goal is to first be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling.
Practicing mindfulness – being present in the moment – is a good way to acknowledge your reaction to negative situations. Occasionally, people ignore their feelings, drawing the conclusion that they’re being irrational or overreacting. However, you reacted a certain way for a reason. Instead of criticizing yourself, it’s important to come to terms with that reaction. If you need to, the next step is talking with a trusted support system like friends, a family member, or mental health professional. They can help you work through that emotion and come to a healthy solution that doesn’t involve self-deprecation or dwelling on negativity.
Regularly Engage with a Support System
By regularly speaking with a trusted individual, whether it’s a close friend, family member, or therapist, you establish a system that works as a line of defense for negative emotions. You have a safe environment you can go to in order to work through your emotions without the fear of judgment or ridicule for your reaction.
For example, if you suddenly feel jealous about a coworker earning a promotion you wanted, you should feel safe to go to your support system to talk it out. While you may have already decided that it’s not fair to you coworker to be upset, since they possibly work just as hard as you, it’s still important to go through that acknowledgment and talk through other emotions you may be feeling – disappointment, frustration, etc. This can help you reach a healthy conclusion faster; your support system will understand the initial reaction, give you tips and advice if you’d like to change that reaction in the future, and talk through what you can do to improve.
If you’re not used to sharing your emotions and inner thoughts with others, this may be a difficult transition for you in the beginning. However, after a few trial runs with your inner circle or a mental health professional, you may begin to notice a change in your outlook on situations that you would initially find challenging. As you work toward changing your approach to negative circumstances, you’ll find you’re more likely to have positive outcomes rather than waiting for the negativity to pass.