Talk Your Heart Out

Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.

Being alive is the meaning.

–       Joseph Campbell

Life is like a rollercoaster ride. It has ups and it definitely has it downs. I’m sure that even the happiest person in the world can’t be happy all the time. There is bound to be moments of sadness, despair or even hatred and jealousy. However, being upset over some event is one thing, but being in a mindset where you constantly worry about the results of the event is a whole different story, and makes the whole thing about a million times worse! Being a hardcore perfectionist, as much as I want to refrain myself from these negative thoughts, I just can’t! But when I realize that this thinking pattern is not only the beginning of a cycle of endless worrying and rumination, but also the start of a very destructive lifestyle and could very well end up as damaging as having a depression, I knew I had to change SOMETHING.

I won’t go as far as saying I’m depressed, but I realize that this affects my mood and social relationships quite a bit. Whenever exams come, for example, I get stressed, I get depressed and I can hardly bring myself to eat and concentrate on the immediate moment of whatever I’m doing. I could get irritated by the littlest things. I even start to dislike the person that I am becoming. But soon I realize that it doesn’t have to be that way; being depressed isn’t inevitable; it all depends on HOW you think!

Being on the downward trajectory of a mood cycle isn’t fun, and stress could very well be the culprit of all these negativity. But if you think whatever you are facing is the end of the world and are in a state of extreme panic, I can guarantee you that stressing out all over it will NOT help a bit. Let it be relationships, work stress, school stress, the worst thing you can do is allow your mind to magnify the problem a thousand times! Worrying is not going to help! It will only fuel your anxiety and worsen the whole situation and this could mark the beginning of a negative view of the world and self, and after that, there is no turning back. I am not even joking. A negative outlook of the world is so destructive because it leads to whole other thoughts about your self-concept, self-worth and self-esteem. The mindset affects your coping style and your coping style affects the outcome of your mental health.

Okay so definitely worrying is not good for you and you consciously (and subconsciously) know that, but WHAT EXACTLY can you do?

Try talking to a friend; tell them your worries; let them know about your situation. But first, and this is very important, make sure you find a close friend, a friend who is reliable, who won’t judge and will stand by your side. In other words, talk to the friend who would let you puke on them and is still willing to take care of you nonetheless. (I think if your friend passes this test, he/she is probably the best candidate for this kind of intimate talk because he/she has already seen the worst of you!) The greatest asset that any one can have is their social network and support system. Who cares if you’re rich as hell with cash to burn, if you have no friends and family to share your problems with, you ain’t living honey. As cliché as this may sound, people need people. Quoting from one of my favourite movies About a Boy, “no man is an island”. So true. I am glad that I have people around me who would respond with warmth but not spite when I needed reassurance. You have no idea how a person’s reaction to your emotion can affect you in so many subtle ways. A person who receives warm and passionate responses to his/her problem will develop adaptive ways and perspectives in relation to the world and this view will allow him/her to understand that world is not as bad and there is a way out. But if a person senses any kind of devaluation in the responses that he/she receives, this will only lead to a sense of unworthiness, and mark the beginning of a downward spiraling of emotions and self-esteem.

All I want to say is that bottling up emotions is not the way to go, and to a certain extent, moderate catharsis (i.e. ranting to a friend!) is a good idea (but only if it’s constructive talking and the talking-partner is right). A good talking-partner gives meaning to your life by opening up your world, and isn’t living always about discovering meaning? There is absolutely nothing you can’t handle with the right mindset acquired through some constructive conversations with your trusty old friend! So, let go of that negativity by engaging in positive and constructive thoughts, stop lamenting and start living your life to the fullest!

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