Poor Communication Can Affect Mental Health

Poor Communication Can Affect Mental Health

Have you wondered if communication can be linked to health? Read on to see how poor communication can affect mental health.


Why consider how we communicate?

This is because poor communication can affect mental health.

With the recent turn of events, mental health has become one of the most talked-about parts of our lives. With COVID’19 came many stressors and traumatic experiences. Traumatic experiences and everyday demands may threaten our mental wellbeing. It is paramount to pay attention to our health and the things that may trigger illnesses – in this case, mental health.

Relationships are significant as they are sources of stress relief and happiness (Scott, 2020). The experience keeps us positive, steady, and full of energy. Our relationships form our support system; they help us navigate difficult times. Communication as a part of every relationship makes the way we interact with one another. A healthy relationship needs healthy interactions. Poor communication threatens our relationships, mental health, and general wellbeing.

“Lack of proper communication may increase health problems” (The Indian Express, 2017). Research shows that a rise in texting and social media usage is part of the hindrances to developing proper social skills in young people. However, technology has come to stay, and we need to relate the best as we can in the changing times.

At some time in our journey through life, about half of us will experience some mental health problem (Stensrud et al., 2012). Therefore, we need to take care of our mental health, pay attention to actions and other things that can help us cope healthily, and practice resilience. Mental Health matters.



Relationships and communication.

Life is about relationships besides other things. The majority of us engage in different types of relationships. The main categories include –

– Platonic – familial, friendships.

– Professional – colleagues, a boss at work.

– Personal – spouse, etc.

All types of relationships benefit from effective communication (Clear Focus, 2020). Open, honest, and genuine communication is vital and fulfilling both in delivering and receiving it. Communication is a part of our relationships. It is evident why we start having problems when the communication channel closes, becomes ineffective, or lacks definition. The issues that may arise may not just be about the quality of our interactions; mental health issues may surface. Healthy communication in relationships builds a sense of safety and support. You trust you are cared for and can care for others. Conversely, unhealthy communication is toxic and stressful. It builds anxiety and strips one of the sense of belonging.

Unfortunately, life isn’t always as plain or as straightforward as we would expect. The roses come with thorns, and sometimes you get pricked. At such difficult times, we need to watch how we communicate. Many tend to become difficult; some are downright toxic. Stress in communication can lead to anxiety, depression, and stress. Use healthy coping strategies at times like this.


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Some aspects of poor communication

  1. Frequent use of sarcasm
  2. Flattery
  3. Poor listening skills
  4. Negative emphasis.
  5. Passive-aggressive behaviour
  6. Aggressive communication



Why is good communication preferred over poor communication?

Words can affect your health. Here are some reasons why poor communication is discouraged in all types of relationships.


Poor or unhealthy communication makes mountains out of molehills

Healthy communication enables minor issues to be dealt with quickly and effectively. Little things don’t escalate or get complicated, and the relationship stays safe and unthreatened. In poor communication, little things fester and become huge issues, and the relationship suffers because of this. Physical, emotional, and mental health may also be affected negatively.


Poor communication lacks the element of listening.

In a previous blog, we looked at the components of communication. For the feedback you get from the other party to be meaningful and rewarding, both parties have to listen effectively to one another. Effective listening benefits relationships. Everyone involved feels heard. Poor listening breeds poor feelings, and people may begin to feel undervalued. Stephen Covey puts it this way – listen to understand then to be understood. Therefore, listening must go both ways to avoid tension and stress.


Poor communication can be patronizing and condescending. Good communication empowers.

Poor communication can show in relationships as sarcasm, ridicule, and passive-aggressive behaviours. These may arise as a result of hiding anger or contempt for someone. It may also be due to a fear of competition, a way of deflecting blame, flattery, or the last resort of a disagreement. Each of the scenarios mentioned is a stressful situation, and poor communication makes it worse. Information communicated in any of these situations is often ingenuine and confusing. Things can escalate to more tense situations.


 Negative emphasis is poor communication

When things that someone did not do well are always highlighted or are the only things discussed, it bears on one’s self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth. The effect is the same in all types of relationships. The person that did the work is most affected. The debilitating outcome will not only appear in their countenance, but it will also show in their approach to other things they have to do. For example, their productivity may drop, and the smoothness of the relationship is lost. Negative emphasis causes emotional and mental stress.


Aggressive communication is poor communication

Destructive criticism and name-calling are hostile communication. The recipient feels devalued. People become defensive in the face of such approaches to communication. This approach to communication creates misunderstandings. The recipient of the aggression feels attacked, undervalued, unsafe, and unsupported.


by Chinyere Nwosu

July 25, 2021


For more on effective communication and mental health – take our Effective Communication Training Course. Contact us for details.

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    Posted at 10:35h, 11 August Reply

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