Does talking to a friend about your problems make you feel better? If so, you’re not alone. And 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). In the same way, writing about our problems can also release emotional pain.

By talking or writing about difficult experiences, we process what has happened and we find words to explain the situation and our responses. By consciously labelling such emotions (eg sad, anxious, confused, scared) we can acknowledge they are there, then recognise that the strength of these emotions are disappearing. This different perspective can give us insight that would otherwise not have been available, and lead us to a more peaceful state of mind (Lieberman et al., 2007). So by speaking or writing about such difficult times, we relieve ourselves of an internal pain and burden, leading to better health (Pennebaker, Kiecolt-Glaser, & Glaser, 1988).

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 writing about them, or sharing them with a therapist or trusted friend.

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Article originally published by: Psychology Today

Image credit: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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