Earlier in February was Time to Talk Day, and this really got us thinking about the power of talking to reduce worry and ensure better mental health. Certainly, the build-up of stress that many of us are experiencing following three national lockdowns has impacted on our resilience to cope with the demands of day-to-day life. And with so many of us facing multiple challenges and drains on our emotional resources, it is often helpful to stop and reflect on what we can do to manage stress, and build on our resilience stores to cope with life during lockdown.
You may be surprised to know that the simple act of talking actually has the power to make a big difference to someone’s resilience levels. With this in mind, here are three small, but mighty ways to talk your way to a more resilient mind:
1. Speak the language of acceptance. The words ‘should’ or ‘ought’ have become a fixture in our everyday dialogue and we often use them to keep ourselves in-check. However, these two words can be problematic because they are judgemental in nature and can make us feel inadequate. When you feel you ‘should’ or ‘ought’ to do something, question yourself on why you feel that way and look ahead towards the benefits that something may bring to you. Try to take a non-judgemental stance towards yourself and lower your expectations. Ultimately, this will help protect both your resilience levels.
2. Ask yourself questions. It is important in challenging times that you are pragmatic about what you can control and avoid overburdening yourself or feeling bad if things do not go to plan. Ultimately when we are stressed, we lose the capacity to problem solve and this can become an issue. One way to avoid overwhelm is to ask yourself, “Is this in my control to do something about this?” If you can provide yourself with an answer, allow yourself to let the worry pass by, or act on what you can feasibly do. Turning your mind towards acceptance of the situation will help build resilience.
3. Talk to yourself positively: Having confidence in your own ability to cope with the stresses of life can play an important part in resilience. Likewise, being more confident in your own abilities, including your ability to respond to and deal with a difficult situation, is a great way to build resilience for the future too. Listen for negative comments in your head. When you hear them, practice immediately replacing them with positive ones. Or try saying “stop” straight after having a negative thought. How you talk to yourself can greatly affect how you think, feel and behave, and help to put things into perspective.
The main takeaway here; never underestimate the power of talking. If you are concerned about your mental health or are suffering with increased feelings of worry or anxiety, please talk to your friends, family, line manager. Don’t suffer alone. In addition, those who are struggling with their mental health and need to talk to someone are encouraged to use their organisation’s EAP, Mental Health Helpline or GP to reach out for support to access talking therapies services.