This everyday phrase is dangerously damaging to your health

Posted August 16

How many times a day are you asked, "how you are doing"? It is a common phrase, a greeting even. How often do we answer back with “I’m fine”? We know most of the time people are not really interested in knowing how we are, but are just being polite. No matter what is happening in our lives, we have gotten into the habit of saying things are fine. The problem is, if we are not fine, we may not know how to express that. We may not even realize we are hiding how we really feel. Living with the mentality that we are “fine” is dangerously destructive. Here's why:

We aren’t sharing our feelings

If there is something wrong, even if it seems insignificant, it is healthy to talk about it. Maybe you haven’t been feeling yourself lately. You don’t want to worry anyone, but your loved ones probably know something is wrong despite your best efforts. By not opening up emotionally, you are pushing your friends and family away. You think you are preventing a problem by not sharing what is going on, but in fact you are creating a bigger issue by not letting anyone help you.

If you are not comfortable talking to a relative or friend, try going to a professional (either medical or mental health doctor) for advice and counsel. It does not mean you are weak or there is something wrong with you, it just means you care about yourself and want to be happy and healthy.

We aren’t acknowledging our problems

Sometimes we think if we just ignore the situation it will go away. That is usually not the case. In fact, if we ignore our problems, they will just grow and get worse. If there is something wrong physically, ignoring the issue can have devastating effects. The same happens when you ignore an emotional problem.

The first step is admitting you have a problem. Until you can figure out what is happening, it can be hard knowing what kind of help you need. If you are feeling sad, but don’t know why, try examining your life. Did something happen to cause your sadness or did it come out of nowhere? Explore your emotions instead of covering them up with “I’m fine”.

We aren’t getting help

If we keep telling ourselves we are fine, we are essentially poisoning ourselves. By telling this lie, we aren't getting the help we need. It is important to not only acknowledge and share your feelings, but you have to continue to the next step which is to get help. Once we know something is wrong we should fix it. Even if we feel mostly fine, still have yearly exams to make sure everything is OK. If you don’t feel fine, definitely see someone who can look into any potential or current problems that are causing you discomfort.

Hopefully when someone asks us how we’re doing we can truthfully respond with a “fine!”. But if not, take the right steps to get help. This doesn’t mean you have to give a full medical report the next time you pass a friendly stranger. Instead, take every chance you can to self-check yourself with how you are really doing.

Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in Anthropology and a masters in Psychology. She lives in Orange County, CA and is a mother of twins. Contact her at


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