Why talking might be more important than you think
Talking is cathartic
There are many experiences in life that at times leave us emotionally overwhelmed and undoubtedly the Covid-19 pandemic could be one of them. At these times, we can be feeling emotionally charged up and filled with tension. Frequently, what has happened to us cannot be changed, such as when we suffer a bereavement, or a tragic accident occurs. When these experiences descend upon us, we feel emotionally frozen. We find ourselves stuck in a state of despair and pain. At these times, talking can help.
There is a word that captures how talking helps—catharsis. Talking leads to a catharsis, which means a feeling of relief. The charged feelings within us become less charged. Nothing has changed that caused the suffering in our lives but talking has drained off some of the pain and this brings relief.
It makes you feel better
I created P3 Business Care to give people in the workplace an opportunity to talk. When I first became a Business Partner visiting our client’s offices and engaging with staff, people often said, “I feel better now.” I would think to myself, “That’s great they feel better, I did nothing but listen.” Over the years I came to appreciate that listening to others is far from doing nothing. Listening gives people an opportunity to tell their story, and, in the telling, they find relief and a quieting of their emotions.
Why talking might be more important than you think and the value of having a listening ear is best demonstrated in a recent testimony from a client employee. “Since my employer began to use the services of P3 I have accessed them and, honestly, it has been excellent. The service that Jim and his colleagues provide is so important to our company and other businesses as it allows staff to have an outlet they otherwise wouldn’t have. The service has been invaluable to me as I’ve gone through several issues, both work and personal in the recent past and P3 have been there with support every step of the way. I couldn’t recommend what they do more highly.”
Talking leads to new solutions
Talking helps in other ways, too. Many times, when we talk with a friend or a family member and we are stuck. We don’t know what to do. But as we talk, we hear ourselves express feelings and information that have not been expressed before. It is this experience of hearing ourselves that allows us at times to suddenly think of what to do. A solution pops into our minds.
As trained Business Partners, we ask people a lot of questions to keep them talking about what troubles them so they might discover their own solution. Very often, they are surprised how they suddenly think of how to solve the problem.
Why talking might be more important than you think?
The act of sharing what daily life is like can help you and others with the same struggles realize that you’re not alone and that what feels overwhelming is actually normal.
To talk about your problems more constructively, there are a few key things you can do.
- Choose the right people to talk to. Having a trusted Business Partner who will support you (without enabling bad habits like co-rumination) can help. If you need specific advice on a problem, we can connect you to the right resource to help you resolve the problem, be that health, relationships, debt, etc.
- Choose the right time to talk. Just as important as choosing who to talk to is when you talk to them. Your friends may want to support you, but they have their own lives. I saw the need to provide an opportunity for people to have conversations in the workplace. To be honest, I thought there would be more time spent out with the 9-5 window in addressing issues that people have but I found that in general, people have taken the opportunity to address their work and personal issues, in the work timeframe. I believe this puts them in a better place to go back into whatever that environment or situation is with a more positive mindset.
- Talk about the good as well as the bad. Expressing how you’re feeling is healthy. Expressing yourself only when you feel bad isn’t. Whether you are talking to friends, partners, or on social media, be sure to share your good experiences and feelings when they come up. Talking about these experiences can reinforce them in your brain and make it easier to break out of negative thought patterns later.
Part of our client reporting system includes a management report that details the number and types of conversations we have had. Although no one is identified and it is all confidential, it lets the company know the type of issues we are involved with. One of our categories is ‘positive conversations’. It’s important to record the good conversations and well as the challenging issues that we help with.
It was great to see Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at the start of 2020 engaging professional footballers in conversations around how they manage their mental health. He himself has been very open about his own personal challenges. He undoubtedly realises why talking might be more important than you think. Some of the clips from the players and great advice from Mental Health Nurse consultant Emma Selby can be found here A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health
About P3 Business Care
P3 Business Care is a Community Interest Company and social enterprise operating across the UK. Supporting your business on a weekly basis we provide personal and proactive care to your employees working in partnership with the company. We develop trust & relationships so we can identify and address issues before they become crisis, absence, or staff turnover. Read more about our services here