Talking… it’s something we do every day so you’d think that most of us would be pretty good at it by now. And for the most part we are, we talk about our day, our mood, our children, what we’re eating for lunch and much more!

But there are some things that are a little tougher to talk about, politics or finances for example, or perhaps…

  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Mental Health issues
  • Sexuality
  • Marital problems
  • Health problems ‘down there’

And many more tense or ‘taboo’ issues that make other people and ourselves feel a little uncomfortable.

And then there is listening, really listening. If a friend, colleague or family member approached you to talk about a delicate subject could you sit and just listen, without allowing your own views or judgments to cloud the issue.

Could you provide support and comfort to a person in need?

Because here’s the thing, there are a LOT of people out there dealing with issues like this, and many of them suffering in silence. In fact, less than a year ago a study by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that 75% of adults in the UK have, at some point felt so stressed at some point over the last year that they felt overwhelmed and unable to cope.

Many of these people feel like they have no-one to turn to, or that if they did open up they might endanger friendships or relationships.

And whilst talking may not provide a quick fix for problems it can certainly help to ease the burden of stress, guilt or suffering that a person might be feeling. A problem shared is a problem halved they say. Talking about problems can provide perspective and lift a huge metaphorical weight off heavily burdened shoulders.

Not to mention that the dangers of not talking about problems can be catastrophic… symptoms such as stress and depression may get progressively worse even leading to an eventual meltdown.

So, to mark this April’s Stress Awareness Month, we’d like to encourage you to speak up. If you’re in need of a good conversation, how can you find your way to opening up? And if you’re on the other side of the fence, how can you listen and provide comfort and support? 

If you need to talk

Firstly, it’s important to understand that is it TOTALLY ok to talk about your problems. The majority of your friends and family will likely be understanding and super keen to support you. Talking out loud about what’s going on in your head can help you to clarify the things that are worrying you and make scary problems seem a little less threatening.

We all feel better when we know someone has our back.

Also, you might not realise it, but those literal problems you’re carrying around with you are probably having a negative physical effect on you too. A head full of pent-up emotions, creates a body packed with physical tension. But once you get things off your chest your head will clear a little and even your muscles can relax.

If you feel that you really can’t confide in friends or family, then it might be time to consider talking to a professional counsellor or therapist. Someone completely removed from the situation who is trained to support and advise you.

One of the advantages of talking to someone outside the situation is they won’t know your friends or your family. Nor will they bring preconceived notions about  how you should be living your life to the conversation.

This often makes it easier to open up and talk about things you might not feel able tell other people. Most counsellors are pretty unshockable!

>> Need to get in touch with a counsellor? Click here to find out more about the services on offer at Rowan House.


If you need to listen

If someone you know is going through a tough time, talking to them and (most importantly) listening to them might sound like a simplistic solution but it really is one of the best possible things you can do to help. But of course it’s not always easy, so try following these simple steps.

  1. Try to listen without interrupting: Just opening up can be really difficult, so once someone has, let the words flow. Wait until they’ve finished talking before you respond.
  1. Let them know you understand: This can really help someone to feel a little less alone. If you’ve been through a similar situation in the past then share your experience, but don’t take the focus off the other person.
  1. Avoid being judgmental: Telling the person who just confided in you that they are being, silly, stupid or crazy won’t help.
  1. Don’t belittle their problems: Language like ‘you’re just having a bad week’. ‘It’s probably just your hormones’. Or ‘I’m sure it’s nothing serious’ also isn’t particularly helpful.
  1. Don’t gossip: If you’ve been told something in confidence then treat it that way. Reassure the person talking to you that they can trust you.
  1. Refer them to professional help if needed: As much as we’d all love to be able to fix problems for our loved ones sometimes we simply don’t have the skillset needed. If you feel this is the case or that your friend could use some professional support or solutions then help them to find it. This could be as simple as encouraging them to visit their GP, get in touch with a specialised organisation or talk with a local counsellor or therapist.

>> Need to get in touch with a counsellor? Click here to find out more about the services on offer at Rowan House.

Men_ Lets talk about stress


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