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The Power of Talking

Why experts advise to talk about your feelings.

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​​​Why do experts advise talking after a crisis regardless if it’s small, big, personal, or national? Because it’s one of our natural, built-in, therapeutic capacities. We use our words to express what we want and need and the same should be for our feelings. For example, as a toddler, we use our words to tell our parents if something is wrong, so they can help comfort us and make it right. This doesn't change when we are adults. Talking can help us in many ways, especially if our trauma or problem is on-going, unexpected, or doesn't have an easy answer.

Reasons to Talk

  1. It gives us a sense of "doing" something. By talking, we are doing something active not passive and we are reaching out for a connection.
  2. Talking gives us an opportunity to "hear" ourselves and “listen" to ourselves. It gives us an opportunity to adjust our thoughts and feelings. Hearing ourselves say, "I can't take another day of this" might lead us to add, "Unless I get help", or "But I will".
  3. Lastly talking teaches us that thoughts and feelings are usually less ominous when we say them out loud to others versus thinking about them privately.

If you need to talk, reach out and find someone who will listen. However, not any listener will do. This is especially true if your stress is ongoing, unexpected, and doesn't have an easy answer, like an emotional loss from a miscarriage, a job-related problem, a friendship crisis, or a health problem, like an infertility diagnosis.

Tips on Choosing a Listener

  1. Choose a listener who will respect your privacy and let you take the lead in the conversation. The last thing you need is to have your problems aired out in public.

    If you find yourself not ready to talk or maybe you’ve exhausted the topic for the day, week, or month and your listener keeps bringing up the topic or asking for updates, don’t be shy about saying you’d prefer not to talk about your problem right now, and that you know they’re there if you need them.

  2. Find a listener who won’t take over the conversation. Sometimes listeners will feel the need to relate and discuss their own problems. However, having someone else take over the conversation can increase your sense of being overwhelmed, helpless, or out of control. Instead, you can thank them for contributing and explain it’s their ear you need, not their hand.
  3. Lastly and most importantly, choose a listener who has been through the same or similar situation. Their previous experience can give you another layer of comfort. Need help finding a listener?

You can usually find individuals to talk to and support groups for specific problems by asking your physician’s office, counselor, or search for national organizations online. Support groups can give you more resources and more listeners, which is why so many of them have 24/7 hotlines. If you’re dealing with infertility and need support, you can contact ASRM, RESOLVE, or a local group through your fertility specialist.

If you do attend a meeting with a support group, afterward make sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I identify with any other group members?
  • Was speaking to the group easier than I anticipated?
  • Was it comforting being with people who have walked in my shoes?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then keep going to these sessions or form your own support group.

Talking can reduce some of your stress and by opening the conversation, you could be helping someone who has a similar problem. In the end–talk it out.

More from Georgia Witkin Ph.D.
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