Time to talk...or time to write?

They say actions speak louder than words, but when it comes to checking if someone is okay or when YOU need to empty your head of mental clutter, written words can be very powerful.

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We're all "okay" thanks

Most of us are addicted to saying we’re “okay thanks” in society. It’s a default conditioned reaction, particularly in the workplace. All too often, we’re not. Here’s the thing, it’s totally okay to not be okay. With approximately one in four people in the U.K. experiencing a mental health problem each year, if you’re not feeling good, it’s highly likely that someone near you may feel the same. This is where talking, listening...and writing take centre stage.

Small talk, big impact

We should feel allowed to fall apart. And if this happens, feel brave enough to take steps to open up -- communicate our feelings to friends, family, or acquaintances we feel safe with. It's hard because we're conditioned to be strong and to persevere through any hardships life throws at us until we're shattered both inside and out (but mainly on the inside).

If you notice someone struggling, dispense some first aid by talking. It doesn't have to follow a script and it may feel difficult if you're uncertain of the response, but small talk is far better than loneliness. That person may find it hard to communicate, but they will know you care and are there.

And if you've taken brave steps to seek advice, well done. I hope someone looks into your eyes and reassures you that you will get better and that it's all good to just talk. "I will listen" "I will care"...powerful words for the restless.

Never underestimate the power of a note

A smile, hug, or kind gesture have the potential to make a difference to someone's day, but getting back to basics, writing to someone can speak volumes. This doesn't have to be a long letter. We live in a world of text and email communication fed by busyness and stress and often a text is just the easiest way of "chatting". You may not receive an immediate response, but check in daily if you can -- there's nothing nicer than knowing someone is thinking of you. Some examples "I'm thinking of you", "I hope you're okay", "Do you fancy a chat?", "I'm always here", "You're beautiful".

A handwritten letter is always lovely to receive as it's a somewhat unique concept these days. The very act of writing by hand and receiving a letter calms both the writer and the recipient. Heartfelt words penned by hand are not instant in delivery, but can be cherished.

Write it out, process it

Writing thoughts down is an amazing way of releasing bottled up worries and emotions or simply, trying to map out a conversation you're hesitant about. The brain processes things when we do this. You don't have to be an avid poet or literary genius -- and it's cheap and available to all, with no nasty side-effects. Write for yourself and you'll be surprised at how it can soothe the day's irritations. Poetry is my release.

Words have the power to change our lives. Use them with empathy and compassion and be the light in someone's life.