With just three days to go before The Helpful Clinic Impactathon this Saturday, we’ve had a number of people get in touch who would love to join us but can’t because they’re too far away, unwell or have other commitments on the day. So… we’ve decided to put together this blog to show you how you can still join in the conversation and make an impact.

So the Impactathon is designed to get us all thinking and talking more about our feelings. Why? Because when it comes to mental and physical health the UK is in the midst of a healthcare crisis (learn more in our Nailing The Helpful Colours to the Mast blog post).

We believe that a key component to address that crisis is to shine the spotlight on feelings and how important it is to understand the purpose of feelings, be able to talk about them and respond to the information they contain. Feelings are information and if we don’t address what they are telling us, chances are it’s only going to get worse.

On the day we will be gathering answers to these three questions:

  1. What is the cost of not talking about feelings?
  2. What is the benefit of talking about feelings
  3. How do we begin talking about feelings?

And even though you may not be able to be with us on the day, we’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and answers to these questions.

What is the cost of not talking about feelings?

If we persistently ignore our feelings and brush them under the carpet, chances are things will only deteriorate to the point where something bigger occurs as a result.

Do you have an experience say, for example, of a friend who regularly does things you don’t like and you were unable to tell them how you felt? What happened? Did the friendship suffer, possibly to the point where it was irreparable?

Or do have an example from work where you stayed quiet about an issue and didn’t address it? Did you end up taking out your frustration on the people at home or having a massive row with your boss and it all ended badly?

Remember, feelings also mean physical sensations and symptoms. Have you got an experience of something like taking paracetamol for example to temporarily alleviate the pain associated with stomach cramps but it didn’t address the root cause and the issue got worse?

What is the benefit of talking about feelings

Do you have examples of the benefit of talking about feelings? Maybe you were able to tell someone that’s important to you that you didn’t like something that they were doing and they took that onboard and changed their behaviour and your relationship became stronger as a result?

Or have you experimented with telling your colleagues when you are feeling snowed under with deadlines and you got extra help or more time which meant that you didn’t stress and actually delivered a better job and your manager has got more realistic expectation of what’s achievable in a day.

Did this in turn lead to a better experience when you are at home due to less stress and you being happier at work?

And on the physical side, do you have an experience let’s say of having a niggling pain in your knee that was remedied with physiotherapy because it was addressed early. But if you had ignored it and just gritted your teeth, there’s a chance it would have ended up requiring surgery to get it sorted?

How do we begin talking about feelings?

Many people do not like talking about their feelings. For some reason it’s become somewhat of a taboo subject, with many individuals choosing to ignore than address. It may feel ‘easier’ to distract ourselves with work or helping others or even use things like food or alcohol to mask how you are truly feeling.

Many people report that they simply don’t know how to start talking about their feelings or even have the words for how they are feeling.

We all have feelings. Whether you talk about them or not, you will be experiencing feelings throughout your day. At the end of the day, even though you are not discussing your feelings openly, you are thinking and “talking” about them, albeit in private and to yourself.

There are a number of ways of looking after your feelings (including having a First Aid Kit for Feelings and knowing your Feelings First Aid). But if we don’t know them, we can’t benefit from them. How comfortable are you with responding to your feelings? What do you do? Do you talk to specific people? Do you write your feelings down or do you potter in the garden and talk to the plants?

Remember, The Helpful Clinic Impactathon will happen this Saturday, 18th January at the Future Business Centre in Cambridge between 10am and 3pm. We’d love to see you there and if you can’t join us, please still be a part by emailing us your answers to the three questions we’ve posed above or send them to us by post. Please also consider sharing this post to help us create even more of an impact (thanks in advance).