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Why Talking About Our Problems Helps So Much (and How to Do It)

Difficulties in reaching out

There are a lot of reasons talking about our problems can be difficult:

  • We may be educated to internalize feelings, rather than expressing them.
  • The emotions we're dealing with (guilt or shame) can feel so overwhelming that we can’t get up the motivation to talk about them.

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Why Talking About Our Problems Helps So Much (and How to Do It)

Why Talking About Our Problems Helps So Much (and How to Do It)

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/smarter-living/talking-out-problems.html

nytimes.com

4

Key Ideas

Difficulties in reaching out

There are a lot of reasons talking about our problems can be difficult:

  • We may be educated to internalize feelings, rather than expressing them.
  • The emotions we're dealing with (guilt or shame) can feel so overwhelming that we can’t get up the motivation to talk about them.

Talking about our problems

It can take a few forms:

  • Venting to a trusted friend: just let your feelings out, with no real plan for a solution.
  • Discussing a conflict with a partner: being able to be open about your feelings with your partner can make your communication healthier.
  • Talk therapy with a licensed therapist: a good one can help you hash out your emotions.
  • Being open about your struggles: sharing what daily life is like can help you and others with the same struggles realize that you’re not alone.

Benefits of talking out problems

Research shows that putting your feelings into words can diminish the response of the amygdala (the part of the brain that handles your fight or flight response, among other things) when you encounter things that are upsetting. 

This in time makes you react with less stress when faced with the things that bother you.

Constructive discussions

  • Choose the right people to talk to. And if you need a lot of talk time, try spreading your conversations out to multiple people.
  • Choose the right time to talk. Your friends may want to support you, but they have their own lives.
  • Find a therapist. If you have misconceptions about it, think of it less like seeing a doctor and more like a personal trainer.
  • Give yourself an endpoint. You may not be able to fix the external problem that is bothering you, but the goal should at least be to improve your mood about it.
  • Talk about the good as well as the bad. Be sure to share your good experiences and feelings when they come up. 

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