What Does Communication Have to Do With Our Mental Health?

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Article by: Tazim Elkington

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Now one would wonder why we are discussing communication where mental health is concerned? Communication is ‘key’ to mental well-being. Unfortunately, we have not realized how deeply we miscommunicate, don’t communicate and misuse words.

One of the biggest issues that cause deep scars during childhood is this huge gap in our world culture. This is due to impositions from one generation to the next.

Some of the barriers of culture, tradition, familial, racial, tribal, socio-economic, educational, gender are so deeply ingrained that our inherent expression gets buried in all this rubble.

Depending on each unit, the lack of or miscommunication can be seen when you look at children. Sometimes when I ask questions, I can already figure out what the deeper issues are by how children respond. I have been through this trajectory myself and experienced how distorted the adults in my life were as I was growing up.

We were generally told to be quiet and not be ‘seen’. What does that mean in adult terms? Do not speak or express yourself; remain invisible. This is how millions of people are still living their lives as adults.

The opposite reaction to being quiet and invisible is to be loud and over the top. This is how the human psyche works. If you won’t hear or see me, I will insist. Both are extremes and through the work I do, I have realized we are not going to get it right straight away. It is going to take time.

It is important to start by understanding effective communication clearly.

Technology is a real deterrent to communication. One cannot have a proper conversation while watching screens. While one is speaking, listen attentively, have eye contact and be present. Do not interrupt or give your version or finish sentences. When they are done, respond with your feedback, if asked. Be deliberate with the words you select to use.

The best way to learn more about what a person is feeling is to ask questions. Most people are so busy talking about themselves they rarely get to hear others. Let's all learn the real language of communication!