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How Vlogging Can Improve Your Mental Health

How Vlogging Can Improve Your Mental Health

Mental illness is, unfortunately, seen as a topic no one is willing to talk about. Even in the 21st century, people still run away from it. Because of this, those who are suffering are afraid to share their problems openly. They fear being mocked and judged, so they keep carrying the burden alone, isolated, which only furthers the illness.

However uncomfortable it might be at times, getting things off your chest can be really helpful. Additionally, spreading the word about what it is really like and the possible dangers will help to destigmatize mental illnesses. Basically, the more people who are aware, the better the chances of finding help and adequate support.

Vlogging is a viable tool for discussing and coping with mental illness

Involving a great number of people is key in order to fight misconceptions about depression, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), schizophrenia, or any other mental illness. What these misconceptions do is destroy people’s willingness to seek help, as well as their belief that there is any help available at all.

It’s important to get people to understand that mental health is something a significant portion of the population has problems with, and that it is something that has to be talked about, understood, and treated appropriately.

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Vlogging can actually help you improve your mental health, cope with all the related issues, and even help others to live happier lives, and there are people who are already vlogging about this with great success. Here are some of the benefits of vlogging on this topic and a few tips on how to get started.

Speaking about your problems makes it easier to deal with them

Opening up to anyone, or the whole world if you are a vlogger, can be a huge help. By saying some things out loud, you begin to actually deal with them. When you say something, you acknowledge its existence. Also, you start crystallizing your thoughts, which enables you to make the first step towards getting better.

Through vlogging, you not only make it possible for yourself to heal, but you also become an inspiration for others. For instance, if you speak up about self-harm or depression, others suffering the same way will understand you and know that they are not alone in this. Perhaps it will encourage them to seek help or to start openly talking about it and expressing themselves in a creative manner. You can get some things off your chest, and offer a helping hand to someone in need.

You will build a community of people with similar problems and a strong support group

People that would watch your vlog would most likely be others struggling with mental health issues. Whether it is to support you or to try and help themselves, they would be there for you. And, as more and more viewers come along, you will build a strong community with them.

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For example, you will communicate with them through your videos, comments, or perhaps build an even deeper relationship by meeting up in real life. The last option could result in a support group with regularly scheduled meetings. If you are feeling really ambitious, you could start an official organisation that would deal with mental health issues.

Spreading awareness and helping others will give you a sense of purpose

Once you make an improvement within yourself, you will feel a lot better and a lot healthier. Helping people around you will give you a sense of usefulness and purpose. This purpose will bring you further into the world of vlogging. In a way, you will become a spokesperson for mental health. This will make you fight harder and try to get your life together.

And, the more you try, the better you will become at it. Spreading awareness by actually talking about an issue, dispelling myths, and teaching people how to cope is immeasurably more helpful than wearing a bracelet or sharing an image on Facebook.

If you are indeed serious about this, and willing to try it, there are some actionable steps you need to take. They can be both easy and hard at times; the key here is to never give up, to never stop. Continuing with your project when you are feeling as if nothing is going your way is crucial. Even when criticism comes, you should fight it and keep doing what you love.

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Here are some of the steps you will need to take.

1. Get started on YouTube

Getting started as a vlogger is super easy. You just need the right equipment — a decent DSLR camera, mic, a basic lighting setup, and a YouTube channel. Also, think of a plan. How many times do you want to vlog and what do you want to say exactly? More importantly, choose a good name for your channel and keep it up to date. Lastly, when you post a video, share it on other social media platforms to get the word out. Promotion is very important if you want to be heard and known.

2. Turn streams of consciousness into coherent scripts

If you want to have a good-quality program, you should think of daily tasks. Having a daily theme would be a nice way to start. Perhaps you could have daily or weekly diary entries on your vlog. Moreover, you could answer questions from your followers at the end of each video. Having a quality script will attract viewers. You should also be talking about relevant things, such as how you coped with your personal mental health issues and how you overcame your problems.

3. Engage your audience

As mentioned, engaging your audience through a question and answer segment is the best way to do it. You can have them ask questions or even share their experiences. You can also answer them directly in the comment section, which is more immediate and a lot easier. Additionally, you can request topics to talk about. This way, you address your audience’s needs.

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4. Deal with criticism and trolls

When you are in the public eye, especially as an Internet personality, you will constantly be under scrutiny. Unknown people will criticise you, both in good and bad ways. Even worse, as you reach more people, the infamous internet trolls will flood your comment section.

Unfortunately, their words can be hurtful and mean, but you should not let them get to you and bring your spirit down. If you decide to answer them, you should do it in a specific way. It is crucial that you do not answer in a hateful way. You should be humours and calm. Try to write something funny or even sarcastic. Of course, a great tactic is to simply ignore them and ban people who are being abusive. They will go away eventually.

Not everyone has the courage to openly discuss mental health, but the worst thing you can do is to keep your feelings bottled up and let them eat away at you. We are social beings and we need to talk to others about our problems. Not only does this help us cope, but it also provides others in a similar position with some valuable insight and teaches those who don’t have these problems about what it’s really like.

Vlogging is a great outlet, a great way to build a community and share experiences, and a great way to spread awareness about a topic that very few people actually understand or are ready to openly talk about.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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