We all have something that displeases us each day. For some of us, it may be as simple as a little bad weather or a mosquito bite. However, for others, it gets as severe as critical illness or the death of a loved one.
Troubles come in various ways, with diverse intensities and at different frequencies. But whether big or small, we always have an emotional and mental response to the things that bother us. The feelings are all valid, even the mosquito bites. So how do we cope with daily pain, frustration, fear, and even regret?
Keeping our feelings without expressing them is just not natural. As human beings, we were created for relationships with God and with each other. From the point of creation, God said it was not good for the man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). While often interpreted as a basis for marriage, the sentiment behind this statement speaks to our social nature.
Studies have shown that keeping painful secrets can lead to stress and illness. Studies have also shown that simply talking about our problems and feelings can lower stress, strengthen our immune system, and bring relief from distress (Pennebaker, Kiecolt-Glaser, & Glaser, 1988).
Being social means we need relationships, and relationships require self-expression through talking.
Talking about our problems can take several forms.
It helps to have someone you can blow some steam off to - and that's even with no real plan for a solution. All you want is a listening ear and what might seem like casual chit-chat. That simple conversation can help you process the stress of a hard day, leaving you feeling happy and relieved.
Keeping your feelings to yourself can cause issues between you and your spouse to fester faster than you think. If you're afraid of conflict, think of expressing yourself as being a way for the two of you to get closer. Make sure you're being constructive while being honest. Otherwise, you become like a balloon that will one day burst because it has too much air. And that will lead to even more marital problems.
If you don't have a trusted or available friend, a therapist can help you process your feelings. Licensed therapists help people with marital problems, mental illnesses, and everything else.
The psalmist David understood how to pour out his heart in all circumstances. Truth be told, God was David's therapist, and David highly recommends Him! In Psalm 62:8, David encourages ALL PEOPLE to pour out our hearts to God. In Psalm 55:22, David invites us to "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee." In Psalm 138:3, we learn that crying out to God gives us strength in our souls.
The Scriptures also provide other good health outcomes of prayer. For example, in Philippians 4:6-7, we learn that telling God everything brings peace to our hearts and minds.
When we practice sharing with others what is on our minds daily, and cast our cares on Jesus, we are refreshed, strengthened, and sustained.
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