We want you to stop and take a moment to think about the following question – How good are you at asking for help?
Sometimes it seems that we have the attitude in our workplaces and personal lives that we should be self-reliant, confident, independent and even ‘bullet-proof’ and never need to ask for help. Does this sound familiar to you?
Asking for help can be really hard, and even the idea of asking for the help we need can be enough to send our confidence plummeting and make us feel anxious or even get a bit sweaty and breathless! If our requests for assistance are not handled well, it can mean that we may be reluctant to ask again in the future.
We’ve been researching why it can be so hard to ask for help or even to accept help when it is offered, and the main reason seems to be that asking for help can simply be a bit scary! Here are some tips and tricks about asking for help:
- We often worry that we may be seen as ‘weak’ or vulnerable when in fact, you need to reframe your thinking and see asking for help as a strength, not a weakness.
- If we need help, we sometimes can’t articulate or express ourselves clearly, so the request may fall a bit flat or not be fully understood by whomever it is we are asking. When asking for help, we should be as clear and specific as possible, so this might mean writing down your request or practising what you want to say before you say it!
- The time to ask for help is before we really need it and before things get too bad. In other words, leaving it too long before asking for help can mean we may take longer to feel better or benefit from helpful suggestions or strategies. If we go too long before we ask for support, we may make the original problem or concerns even bigger and lose perspective
- A ‘Psychology Today‘ article suggests that if we use ‘minimising’ phrases such as: ‘I hate to ask you’ or ‘It’s just a little thing’, we may not set the scene well. Consider how someone may feel if we ‘hate to ask’ them? If you explain to someone why or how they may be able to help you, it is also helpful for the person you are talking to.
- Think about ‘why’ you are asking someone. Is it because you feel they are a good and calm listener? Are they someone who may have been through something similar and therefore, you may find their experience and insights valuable? How will you cope if they go straight into ‘problem-solving’ or ‘we need to fix this’ or ‘let’s be practical’ mode? The help or advice you need, will be specific for you as an individual; it may not be what someone else would need.
- Understand that not everyone will be available to help when asked. Sometimes your request is outside of their area of expertise. Maybe they really are too busy to offer you support at this time. Don’t be disheartened by this, and don’t take it personally!
- Of course, we would all thank someone who offered us support or help when we ask for it. Most ‘helpers’ appreciate hearing how you are going and if their support or tips were practical for you. They also can feel valued and useful if they can provide you with support.
- Return the favour! If you notice that a friend, colleague or family member might be feeling overwhelmed, offer to help them or ask if they need to take a break to have a chat.
Healthier Habit tip –
Practise saying ‘Yes!’ instead of saying no when someone offers you assistance. Our immediate reaction is often to refuse help even though we know we need it.
Mental Wellbeing at MYLI –
The Healthier Habits blog is adapted from the Myli – My Community Library employee ‘Page Break’ program. Page Break is an initiative from our Manager Volunteers & Community Participation, Kathie Olden. Kathie sends out regular updates to staff inviting them to participate in simple activities and conversation starters that focus on making small changes to their mental health and wellbeing.
September Special Events and Dates –
- Adult Learner’s Week: 1-8 September
- Women’s Health Week: 5-11 September
- R U OK Day: 8 September
- Discover more awareness days and special events during September here.
Extra Support –
The opinions and recommendations in this blog do not replace advice from your doctor or mental health practitioner. If you feel like you need further support, you can access many free mental health helplines, support websites, online counselling, web forums, interactive toolkits, one-on-one counselling and group therapy sessions. Please visit the Better Health website for a comprehensive list of services.