Friends Can Help Overcome Stress

Honesty Is The Best Policy

Picture the scene: you have been worrying yourself into a blue funk over the course of a week with one subject dominating the horizon and no idea how you are going to deal with it. This worry arises time and again, often at inopportune moments, before sinking out of sight for long enough to give you a shot at cheering up – before the worry appears again and pulls the rag from underneath your feet. As you sit there consumed by the feeling that nothing is ever going to be enjoyable again, it is a level certainty that someone will ask you: “What’s up?”. It is also a fair possibility that you will pause for a moment and then say “Oh? No, nothing, I’m fine.”

Does that sound familiar? If so, don’t worry – you’re one of a great many people who have lived that exact scenario out maybe weekly, maybe even more often than that. We have a tendency to internalize our worries, and when someone asks us what’s going on it is somehow easier to pretend that all’s well rather than burdening them with some of what is bothering us. Never mind the fact that they may be able to help, we do not want to be thought of as wasting their valuable time. It is a little bit like a dance in a lot of ways – the initial approach, the intricate steps of offer and response, the big finish (where they walk away, perhaps a tad confused).

For politeness’ sake, we are almost hard-wired to decline any offers of help even when we would really benefit from having someone else’s advice. But if they didn’t want to help, they wouldn’t have asked. Whatever the situation you are trying to deal with, there might be something they can do. Maybe they can help materially. Maybe they’ve been there themselves and can offer advice that will fix things. Maybe they know someone who can help, even if they cannot themselves. Either way, it is counter-productive to turn down an offer of help simply because you don’t want to be impolite. If nothing else the act of telling someone, and having them listen to you, can make the problem seem a bit less insurmountable.

The act of “bottling things up” is one that we are all prone to every once in a while, but it is not a good habit to get into. Stress is a major contributor to many illnesses, both physical and mental, and allowing problems to snowball to the point where you cannot see a way out is only going to hurt you in the short and long term. A good friend will want to help you. Solving a problem is a lot easier when you have a second mind working on it. Don’t think that they are only asking in order to be polite, and that by telling them anything you will be ruining their day. They want to know. They want to help. Give them that opportunity, and it will make things a whole lot more straightforward for all concerned.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on May 30, 2009.