How can I learn to open up about what's bothering me?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
If a secret's weighing down your mind—and compromising your health—these tips can help:
  • Share with the right person. The benefits of unloading your secret evaporate if the person you tell isn't accepting. Divulge sensitive information to someone you know will be supportive—and keep your secret. If your secret is about an extremely upsetting experience, a trained therapist may be the appropriate listener. Talking about a difficult experience from your past can bring up a lot of associated thoughts and feeling. Sometimes professional support is the best way to work through them and heal.
  • Describe your secret in three ways. Talk about what happened, what you think about it and how it makes you feel. Don't shy away from negative feelings. Putting them into words can be especially healing. It feels risky, but people who reveal only the positive side of a secret may not get the same health benefits.
  • Write it down for your eyes only. Blogging about your secret might help, but sharing doesn't have to mean going public. Setting aside 15 or 20 minutes to write expressively about your big secret can release you from its grip. It's not just that writing blows off steam. Finding words for your feelings and memories helps you gain perspective. It can also free you from feeling isolated. Many people who've put their secrets into words find that they feel more comfortable and connected with others. Their minds even worked better, with signals moving more freely between the right and left sides of the brain. The rules of expressive writing are simple: pick a quiet, private time and place, write when you won't be disturbed and can relax afterward, and go with the flow. Just start writing! Whether by hand or on your computer (by which you can always delete it), write for at least 15 minutes. Repeat the exercise daily for three or four days.

Continue Learning about Emotional Health

Emotional Health

How well you handle stress, anger, relationships, work, family life-it all factors into your emotional health. Finding balance in life-as well as peace of mind-helps us cope with life's ups and downs. Take time to explore new ways ...

to find stress relief, and to release anxiety, and unhappiness. Counseling can help-as can a gratitude journal.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.