That may be true, but how many times have you felt frustrated that someone didn't really understand what you were trying to say? Or that you didn't "get" what someone was telling you? Or that you agreed to do something you didn't want to do?
Good communication is harder than you may think, and it is one of those skills that is so important to developing and maintaining mental and emotional health.
Good communication first requires that you know what you are trying to communicate. If you don't know what you are trying to say, it is difficult to communicate an effective message.
It also means being able to listen to others so that you can let them know what you are thinking and feeling, as well as saying no when you need to.
In this lesson, you'll have a chance to consider what's involved in good communication and why it is related to mental and emotional health.
Communication Is More Than Talking
What we've got here is a failure to communicate.
—Strother Martin, Cool Hand Luke, 1967
Some of the most poignant lines in movie history arise from a failure to communicate.
When most of us hear the wordcommunication, we think of someone talking. Communication actually involves giving and receiving information. Radio, television, and the Internet are modes of communication. So are books, letters, e-mails, magazines, billboards, and newspapers. These examples all give a message, and you act as the receiver.
Communication between or among people is known as interpersonal communication. It is the process of sharing thoughts and feelings, and it involves speaking, listening, observing, and understanding.
Good communication is an important factor in mental and emotional health. A network of family and friends you can turn to for help in times of crisis and for companionship and fun at other times is called your social support. In other words, social support is what friends and family do for and with one another.
Research on social support shows that your health is greatly affected by your relationships. Having at least one person in whom you can confide and share your hopes, dreams, and disappointments is crucial to health. And good communication is essential to supportive relationships.
Maintaining a Mutually Healthy Social Support System
Developing and maintaining healthy social ties involves give-and-take. Sometimes, you're the one giving support, and other times, you're on the receiving end. Letting family and friends know you love and appreciate them will help ensure that their support remains strong when times are rough.
The Mayo Clinic, a famous medical service and research center, has put together a worthy list of things to keep in mind about social support systems:
Go easy. Don't overwhelm friends and family with phone calls or e-mails. Communication can be brief — five minutes on the phone or several sentences in an e-mail. Find out how late or early you can call, and respect those boundaries.
Be aware of how others perceive you. Ask a friend for an honest evaluation of how others see you. Take note of any areas for improvement and work on them.
Don't compete with others. This will turn potential rivals into potential friends.
Adopt a healthy, realistic self-image. Both vanity and rampant self-criticism can be unattractive to potential friends.
Resolve to improve yourself. Cultivating your own honesty, generosity, and humility will enhance your self-esteem and make you a more compassionate and appealing friend.
Avoid relentless complaining. Nonstop complaining is tiresome and can be draining on support systems. Talk to your family and friends about how you can change those parts of your life that you're unhappy about.
Adopt a positive outlook. Try to find the humor in things.
Listen up. Make a point to remember what's going on in the lives of others. Then, relate any interests or