Instead of trying to put into words how you are feeling at a certain moment, especially when you are a jumble of emotions, it is perfectly fine to say, “I am okay.” People can then infer from the nuance rather than the word.
Sure, you might have tweaked your back or you are feeling really embarrassed, but unless you like being the center of attention, “I am okay” puts up a serious shield, saving you some face. “I am okay” is a buffer, a safety tube down a slippery soap of prying questions or difficult response.
If you struggle with a mood or mental health disorder, sometimes tricking yourself into thinking all is well is pivotal in getting through an episode. Some people think of “I am okay” as a mantra. When you start feeling panicked, anxious, or dismal, instead of dwelling in the darkness, you immediately begin telling yourself, “I am okay. I have got this.”
“I am okay” is precise, succinct. You can focus on energies again on what you are doing. A study in 2012 found that self-directed speech increases concentration and productivity. In the case of the study, those who were directed to say the object’s name they were meant to find in a picture actually found the object much faster than those who remained silent.
You might not be okay, but you are waiting to see if your questions will be answered down the road. Or you could simply need more time to truly register the info before addressing things not yet understood. There is nothing wrong with buying yourself a little more time to grasp what is happening, especially when you are stressed.
“I am okay.” “Am I really?” “Why am I not okay?” Feelings are difficult. A lot of people do not even like “the feels.” For kids, there is tears and irritability. Adults get to use vague phrases like “I am okay.” Because society demands that we keep it together, “I am okay” is a phrase that is a benefit in and of itself. And that is why it is perfectly fine to tell others you are okay.