Talking: A Giveaway With A Good Return

Blah, blah, blah… “What if I leave it all for myself? People will not listen anyway… Maybe they will criticize me… It will do me no good…”

Let me tell you something. Studies have shown that the simple act of talking about our problems can reduce stress, decrease emotional and physical distress, and strengthen our immune system (Pennebaker, Kiecolt-Glaser, & Glaser, 1988).

Verbalizing negative emotions can be a good source of relief. Actually, most of the psychotherapy approaches are based on verbalizing as a primary element of the therapeutical relationship.

So what happens when I talk?

When you talk, ideas in your head turn into concrete words that you can hear. That’s where the power of words lays. Thoughts can start making sense to you. Imagine it as a wire that goes from your head, passes through your mouth, all the way to the world and to your ears, to go back to your head. In the communication process, you will be the sender and the receiver at the same time.

Neuroscience studies by Lieberman et. al. (2007) and Vago and Silbersweig (2012) have found that putting emotions into words decreases activation in the amygdala which is the brain’s alarm system that triggers the fight-or-flight reaction. By engaging the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, which deals with language and meaning, we move away from limbic reactivity when labelling our emotions. When then become more mindfully aware of our emotions and less reactive.

What if I am not the talkative social person?

Some people find talking and expressing their emotions a burden that they need to avoid.

Writing down your problems, journalizing, drawing, can also be some of the projective methods to help you express yourself better. The purpose is to externalize what you have in your system, so it doesn’t end up poisoning you.

To sum up, every time you feel in real distress, don’t let it consume you. Instead let it all out. We are so used to repressing our emotions that we think it is normal. It is like being locked in the same room with your emotions while having the keys in your pocket. You don’t use the keys so your emotions don’t go out, but you can’t get out as well.

Verbalizing, labelling our emotions, putting words on our thoughts are the first key towards healing and overcoming unwanted emotions.

Let it out, so it doesn’t keep you stuck. You deserve this freedom.