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How Do You Start Asking for Help?

Posted on September 25, 2020 By In Fitness With disabled comments

Feel like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders? I can totally relate. If the struggles of living in an overly busy, stressed out society weren’t enough, the fear of navigating it all mid-COVID is the proverbial icing on the cake.

Whether it’s the overwhelm of managing day-to-day tasks or deciding to get a handle on your mental or physical health, it can be hard to go it alone. Which leads me to the question: why do we feel compelled to do it all ourselves?

Do You Have a Do-It-All-Myself Mentality?

I ask my health coaching clients this question anytime I can feel them slinking back into their old patterns of avoiding asking for help. We sort of live by this notion that we should all be able to handle anything that comes our way. And if we can’t handle it ourselves, well, that’s a sure sign (at least in our own minds) that we’re weak, incompetent, or somehow unworthy of achieving success in that area. New health diagnosis? Sure, no problem. Relationship problems? Got it all under control. Global pandemic like we haven’t seen in our lifetime? No freakin’ sweat.

The trouble is, asking for help can bring up similar, uncomfortable feelings. Research done in the fields of neuroscience and psychology confirm that there really are social threats involved in doing so. In fact, researchers found that an emotionally painful threat activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain does — which of course gives us even more reason to avoid asking and continue struggling in silence.

Reasons You Avoid Asking for Help

You may avoid asking for help for several reasons:

  • You’re unsure where to turn
  • You don’t want to be seen as weak
  • Fear of being rejected
  • Showing vulnerability
  • Not sure how to ask
  • Feeling like a burden
  • Worrying people won’t like you
  • Relinquishing control
  • Admitting you can’t do it all
  • Feeling like your problems are less significant
  • You grew up with a pattern of being let down in childhood

There’s no shortage of reasons why it feels hard to ask for help, but here’s where it gets wild. Studies show that people actually like helping other people — they get a huge benefit from it.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26575283/‘>2 Physiological responses like heart rate, blood pressure, salivary alpha-amylase, and salivary cortisol, as well as self-reported stress were collected and measured throughout the experiment. They found that participants who had written the supportive notes had lower sympathetic-related responses than their counterparts who just wrote about their routine.

Asking for help makes people like you more too. This concept is called the Benjamin Franklin effect and is based on cognitive dissonance theory,