Time to talk about mental health. 2020 was a rough year. 2021 hasn’t started off well either. So it’s imperative right now, that we highlight the importance of having conversations around mental health, disconnection and social isolation.
Having a conversation sounds simple enough, so why are we not having them?
We see all too often the conversations that really matter just don’t happen. They feel too difficult. Too shameful. Too scary.
In the moment they should happen, denial and avoidance are often chosen rather than the discomfort of saying what really needs to be said, asked or shared. Questions like…
- What happens if I get it wrong?
- What happens if I make it worse?
- What happens if they think I’m weak?
…move us away from that crucial conversation rather than towards it. These questions come up because we’re afraid. If we want to have the conversation, we must understand the reasons behind the fear first.
The fear is social pain
Social pain is experienced in the brain in the exact same way we experience physical pain. The same brain circuity (the anterior cingulate cortex) is activated when we feel disconnected, excluded, isolated or rejected, as it is when we break a leg, cut a finger or have a heart attack. The fear of judgment and shame causes us social pain. Social pain hurts us. So we simply don’t have ‘the conversation’.
The fear of judgement and pain are integral to the reasons why mental health challenges continue to remain at large.
The only way to truly allow ourselves to learn and grow through conversation, is to adopt a ‘Beginner’s Mind’.
When we begin studying a subject that we’re passionate about, we have an attitude of openness, enthusiasm and no preconceptions. If we’re able to step into this beginner’s mindset more often, conversations that feel difficult would happen.
Curiosity would alleviate fear. There would be a desire to learn and be educated and change would start to happen.
So let’s get talking. It’s about time.
This Time to Talk day, let’s have the conversations that matter, because when we talk we feel better. When we feel better, we do better. And the business does better. A lot better.
About the author
Lou Banks is the Founder and Director of Rising Vibe Ltd and brother brand Calling Out The Men. She’s passionate about helping organisations place wellbeing at the heart of their culture. She’ll show your business how to get to grips with emotion. Tackle thoughts. Address feelings. Because when this happens it can drive cultural change and have a huge impact on business performance. Lou specialises in making complex psychological theory simple and accessible. She takes the best and discards the rest. She knows what works and what gets results. But don’t take her word for it. Debate and discussion are actively encouraged. Challenge her. Be as skeptical as you need to be. She loves it as herein lies the learning. Lou comes from a place of empathy and experience. She’s been to ‘that difficult place’ and she’ll be right with you when she takes you there too. She knows the discomfort, the anxiety and the frustration, so she knows how important it is to be open and accessible, without being judgmental.