Talking Triggers: How To Communicate A Problem
Knowing how to communicate more effectively will help other people to better understand you and will help you to make yourself better understood. However, mental distress affects communication, and that means that it can be hard to find the right words to express yourself, even if you’re usually an articulate person. Knowing how to communicate effectively is key to developing rapport and building up a positive relationship, but it’s also equally important to know how to listen effectively to others so they feel as if they are being valued. Knowing and understanding how to talk using triggers is vital for proper communication of any problem.
The Importance Of Active Listening
Communicating isn’t just about personal expression, it’s also about listening properly. This is known as active listening. Listening is one half of communication, and there is considerable evidence to demonstrate just how important communication is in helping people who are struggling with a mental, physical or emotional problem. So, how do you listen actively?
The key is to show that you’re listening, to respond appropriately, and to ask relevant questions that are triggers for the individual to express themselves fully. Encouraging gestures, nods, and appropriate and open body language will help the speaker to know that they are truly being listened to. It’s amazing how small things are able to make a difference. Simply by offering empathy, a smile and some non-judgemental understanding, you can help someone to open up.
Good Communication Speeds Mental And Physical Recovery
Human relationships are known to have a major impact on an individual’s recovery from physical and mental health problems. Successfully engaging with those who are suffering and communicating therapeutically with them is vital to the ongoing process of recovery.
Without effective communication, however, individuals can become increasingly mentally distressed and will begin to feel more isolated. This is why knowing the talking triggers for effective communication is so essential for those who are distressed and anxious.
How Do I Raise The Subject Of My Own Problems?
If you’re struggling with a mental health or emotional problem, it can be difficult to know how to address the subject with those around you. Whether you want to raise the issue with friends or family members, or whether you want to approach a medical professional to get some support, it can still often be hard to broach the topic of your mental well-being.
Even though attitudes are changing, there are still some taboos around discussing mental and emotional health, and this leads to many people feeling too embarrassed or ashamed to admit that they’re having a problem or going through a tough time. Therefore, having some top tips to help you to get started with one of these tricky conversations can be beneficial.
Top Tips For Discussing Your Issues
The top tip for beginning a discussion about your mental health is never to rush into it. Always choose a time when neither you nor the other party is rushing off to do something else. This topic requires an in-depth conversation, and cutting it short to manage other obligations isn’t a great way to get started. Plan for a minimum of 30 minutes and preferably an hour so you can raise all the issues that you need to.
If you’re too worried to approach the subject in person, it might be easier to begin by sending a text. Especially in the case of facing one of your trauma triggers, text can help you get around the anxiety that would cause you to be nonverbal in a situation.
You don’t need to rush straight into details – a simple message saying that you have something important that you need to talk about will suffice. Alternatively, you could even write a note or letter which expresses in brief your emotions or feelings, how they’re affecting you and impacting on your life and what kind of help you’re looking for.
This helps to set up the parameters of the discussion so that the person you’re approaching already knows what’s wrong and can plan ahead for some ways to help you.
You might find it helpful to find information on the internet which explain how you feel or the symptoms you’re experiencing. You can print this information out and then bring it along with you when the time comes to talk. This could act as one of the key triggers for your conversation.
How Can I Help Someone Else Who Wants To Talk To Me?
If someone wants to discuss their emotional or mental health with you it can be nerve-wracking. After all, what do you say or do? How do you react? However, the way that you react now can make all the difference to someone else’s health, well-being and whether or not they go on to get the help that they need, so you need to know how best to approach the subject. Here are some top tips to help point you in the right direction:
- Listen – the most important thing you can do to help someone who wants to discuss their mental or emotional health is simply to listen. Allow them to finish everything they have to say and express all of their thoughts completely with no interruptions. No matter how tempted you are to butt in with your ideas, suggestions or opinions, wait until they’ve finished talking before responding.
- Make sure they know when you understand – when someone shares the way they feel with you, it’s very helpful for them to know if you understand from your own experience. It’s always helpful for sufferers to know they’re not alone and that other people have been through the same thing and have come out the other side. Make sure you don’t change the subject to that of your own struggles though. You should remain focus on their problem and their own needs.
- Don’t be judgemental – even if you think that their behavior is weird or that they’re over-reacting or that their triggers don’t make sense, never tell them so. That isn’t helpful and it could prevent them from seeking further help and support which they really need.
- Take their problems seriously – it might be tempting to minimize the way that they feel or to downplay their emotions by simply saying “you’re just going through a tough time at the moment” or “It’s not as bad as you think”. Although that might seem to be the best course of action, it’s actually detrimental for the person who has opened up to you and shows that you’re not taking them seriously. Even if the problem seems a minor one, it’s a big deal to that person and it should be treated as a major issue and addressed as such.
- Make sure they know you’re available if you’re needed for another talk in the future – it’s often a huge relief for somebody to share the things they’ve been keeping a secret for some time. However, a mental health or emotional health issue cannot be solved in a single conversation. At some point they will probably want to talk again, so making sure that they’re aware that you’re around whenever necessary is vital.
- Never gossip about what has been shared with you – when someone approaches you to discuss a problem, remember that it’s taken a lot of effort for them to bring themselves to talk about their issues in the first place. You need to respect that and never share the information that they’ve shared with you with anyone else. If they want to talk about their problems with anyone else, let them do it on their own terms.
- It’s ok to not understand – if someone opens up to you about a problem that you know nothing about, that doesn’t mean you can’t sympathize or empathize with them. Afterwards, you can do some research to find out more about everything you’ve been told. Just make sure that you check that all the information you get is from a reliable source such as a government agency or health organization.
- Use your talking triggers – make sure you ask the right question to help the other person to open up and to share with you. Ask open questions that allow them to express themselves fully.
- If you believe the other person is at risk, don’t be afraid to ask for help – if the other person tells you they want to harm themselves, for example, it’s important to take it very seriously and to help them to get urgent medical support.
What Happens Next?
If you’re ready to talk to someone else about your problem, you’re probably worried about what might happen and how it’ll go. Of course, it’s impossible to predict exactly what to expect, but here are a few things that you might find.
- You might find that things are a bit awkward initially both for you and the other person you’re talking to. It’s often hard to discuss anything health related, but soon, with the right approach, the embarrassment and awkwardness will diminish.
- You’ll almost certainly feel relieved. Opening up and sharing something that you’ve been keeping secret for some time often feels as if you’ve lifted a burden from your shoulders. You may be surprised to find out that the person you’ve spoken to actually has person experience of a similar situation and this will enable you to feel less isolated.
- You might find that you’ve chosen someone who simply doesn’t understand. If this happens, don’t be discouraged or distressed. You mustn’t allow this to prevent you from seeking help and support elsewhere.
- You should expect to have to answer questions. Usually, you’ll be asked how long you’ve been feeling this way, if there were any triggers that prompted those emotions and feelings, and whether you’re able to describe what you feel like. You don’t need to answer all the questions if you aren’t ready to, but remember that the more questions to answer, the better the person that you’re talking to will understand your problem.
- You should be prepared for the possibility that you won’t receive the reaction you hoped for. It takes a lot of courage to raise the issue of your mental or emotional health with someone, and if you receive a reluctant response or a response which minimizes the way you feel, it could be upsetting and discouraging. Don’t be put off getting help. If you’ve tried your best to explain how you feel and how it’s impacting on your life and you still aren’t getting the response you need, think whether there’s somebody else that you know who could be a better choice to approach for support. Whatever you do, don’t stop looking for help or struggling on by yourself. Ignoring the situation won’t make it go away.
Taking Steps Towards Getting Better
Remember that having a conversation is only the first step to take towards getting better. You’ve done well to get the ball rolling and now you need to follow up on it. You might need to get some medical advice or some counseling to help you to cope with what you’re going through. Your own doctor could be your first port of call here, or perhaps a therapist. If your school, college or workplace has a counselor, this could also be another option to help you get the advice and support you need to handle your problems. A professional will be able to use talking triggers to help you work out what is happening to you and how you can get some help.
Remember, too, that it will take some time to make a full recovery. Whether you’re going through a problem that is related to a situation in your life and need some time to process your emotions or feelings, or whether your problem is a long-term issue like a mental health disorder, it’s important to bear in mind that you aren’t alone and you can get better given the right help, support and treatment.
If you’ve been approached by another person who needs some help and support, remember to use talking triggers to help them to express themselves fully. You have an instrumental role to play in making sure that they don’t feel so isolated and alone, and to help them seek out further advice from a professional who can help them to make a full recovery.