Does talking to a friend about your problems make you feel better? If so, you’re not alone. And now research in psychology and neuroscience tells us why.
Talking about our problems and verbalising our negative feelings to friends has been a source of relief for centuries. Studies have shown that simply talking about our problems and sharing our negative emotions with someone we trust can be profoundly healing—reducing stress, strengthening our immune system, and reducing physical and emotional distress (Pennebaker, Kiecolt-Glaser, & Glaser, 1988).
Writing about our problems is another way we can release emotional pain and gain greater perspective. The theory is that keeping painful secrets is stressful, increasing the risk of illness, and that self-disclosure, whether spoken or written, relieves the long-term stress of inhibition, leading to better health (Pennebaker, Kiecolt-Glaser, & Glaser, 1988). When we give words to our emotions, either verbally or in written form, we become less reactive and more mindfully aware.
So the next time you’re feeling down, instead of being swept along by a flood of negative emotions or chronically stressed by keeping them bottled up, you might try mindfully labelling them, writing about them, or sharing them with a therapist or trusted friend.
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Article originally published by: Psychology Today
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