Speaking Out and Becoming Yourself

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Published on November 6, 2015


Figuring out what is going on inside your own head is difficult, but sometimes trying to vocalize these thoughts is the hardest part. Not everyone is entirely comfortable revealing how they feel to others, but when an issue or complication is causing chaos inside someone’s brain, the most important step to feeling better is coming to terms with what is wrong and finding a way to talk about it.

A considerable amount of people, myself included, cannot always pinpoint exactly what to say to properly describe what kind of psychological or mental issues they are experiencing. In some cases, it seems easier to push away the thoughts and avoid talking about what is on your mind all together. Unfortunately, keeping quiet can only worsen how one feels. Over time, without an outlet for the sadness or the anger, the thoughts can bring a person down. The process of acknowledging these feelings is not easy, but the results will free your mind.

Speaking Out PHOTO

The best way to a clear mind is taking to a journal and writing down exactly how you feel. Photo by the author.

Personally, I feel like I have learned a lot about myself this past year just by opening up and becoming more verbal about what kind of emotions I’m experiencing. It has never been easy for me to articulate how I feel about particular situations that bum me out or make me irritated. I have eliminated various aspects of my life that caused me pain by just opening my mouth and talking about the mental state I was currently in. It is easy to realize when you are having a “bad day”, but I have chalked 2015 up to a “bad year” for numerous reasons.

It is not by any means easy to open up about something bothering you, and for me it became a problem that prevented me from realizing how truly unhappy I really. Between the death of my fourteen-year-old dog, my complicated three-year-long relationship, and an abundance of troublesome personal problems in between, I was masking how I felt, thinking that my feelings would eventually disappear. Sadly, this is never the case.

I reached a breaking point in my life and recognized I had to talk about how and why I felt the way that I did. I ended my relationship, removed unwanted and unnecessary stress from me life, and started writing down and speaking my mind. It’s never easy putting an end to a commitment, especially one over three years, but there comes a point where a person realizes some things just cannot and will not work out.

Little did I know, UCLA Newsroom had UCLA psychologists perform a study in 2007 revealing that writing your feelings down is proven to improve your mental state. The author, Stuart Wolpert, wrote in his article, “Putting Feelings Into Words Produces Therapeutic Effects in the Brain; UCLA Neuroimaging Study Supports Ancient Buddhist Teachings” that, “When you put feelings into words, you’re activating this prefrontal region and seeing a reduced response in the amygdala,” he said. “In the same way you hit the brake when you’re driving when you see a yellow light,when you put feelings into words, you seem to be hitting the brakes on your emotional responses.”

Rory O’Brien, 22, is a student at HCC and weighed in on the topic of expressing yourself by adding, “To be concise, I think you can’t truly come to terms with your feelings most of the time without verbalizing to someone else. It’s like the final step is really acknowledging what’s going on in your head so that you can move forward from there.”

Pleasing others and putting people before yourself may seem important, but nothing matters more than your mental state and where you are with how you feel. I learned that channeling my thoughts with writing helped me acknowledge how I felt and what to do about situations that brought me physical and mental suffering.

I truly believe my major helped me in the process, and discovering Journalism and Communications created a great release and opportunity for me. I have found out throughout the year I am much better at writing than I am speaking, so sometimes it helps take a pen to paper and plan out how I feel and how I should go about expressing these thoughts.

Do not hesitate when it comes to speaking up about how you feel. The key to feeling better about oneself is to figure out what is bothering them in the first place, and allowing that to be resolved by talking about those feelings. Learn to say no and allow yourself to address your emotions.