In a study where people talked briefly for just 5 minutes about an issue that was bothering them, to a person who simply listened, those people felt 35% less depressed or stressed. The people who chose to go on and talk about those issues further, in more depth, they felt up to 50% less depressed or stressed.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, that a problem shared, was a problem halved. That was literally proven in this study. For reference, I have linked the Ted Talk in which I found this information. Humans are not meant to bottle things up. We aren’t mentally built to cope with things on our own and talking does help. A natural remedy. I’ve listed a few points about why and how talking feels beneficial to me.

Finding the right person to talk to

Sometimes you may feel your best friend or family member isn’t the right person to talk to.  And that is okay! But it doesn’t mean you have to bottle things up. There are other options. I don’t mean start talking to strangers, but there are ways. You may feel more comfortable talking to a doctor or therapist who you haven’t met before or finding someone who specialises in the area you wish to talk about. It’s important to feel you have chosen the right person to talk to. Some people appreciate that in a professional setting, as you don’t necessarily have to ask of the other person’s issues and are able to concentrate on your own. Other people may find that listening to experiences of others are valuable.

The right setting to talk

Talking to someone doesn’t have to be done just face to face if you don’t feel comfortable with that – especially in the current climate, we have adapted to use instant messaging and web/phone calls to keep in touch. Some people find it easier to open up when they don’t have to face a person. You may feel like you want to rehearse what you want to say – and writing that all down before sending it to someone would help.

Talking when you feel ready

Do not feel pressured into talking when you do not feel ready to. Sometimes you need to take a few moments, or longer, to look back and reflect or consider what you want to say. It’s important to do things in your own time. Timing is important to make sure you do not feel rushed.

Knowing your opinions, problems and thoughts are heard

I think this is the most important thing about talking – knowing someone cares about what you’re saying. It’s the most beneficial part, feeling like someone understands and wants to listen, even if it can’t be resolved. No matter what the issue might be, if it’s real to you and you feel you need to talk about it, it should be recognised. Talking about things may not feel so beneficial if you don’t feel listened to – another reason why it’s important to find the right person to talk to.

I feel like we are always told to ‘open up’ and ‘to not be afraid to ask for help’. It takes a lot to get to a position where we feel we can be open and real with how we might feel. This could be because when you say it aloud it becomes more real, or whether you feel like a burden for speaking to someone, or just worried of how someone might react.

I think I’ve felt all of those to some degree and I know a lot of other people will have as well. But I know after talking, I’ve felt a sense of relief. It’s truly worth it.