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Have you ever wondered if you can you talk your way into anxiety?
A study done by Dr. Amanda J. Rose at the University of Missouri in 2007 found that girls who repeatedly talked over problems with their friends were more apt to develop anxiety and depression. Talking (and talking, and talking) about a problem with your girlfriends has been termed ‘co-rumination,’ which simply means ruminating over problems with your pals. Interestingly, the study did not find the same results in males.
Of course, it’s healthy to bounce our issues off a good listener who has your back, but to dwell on an issue or problem over and over again with friends has shown to have negative consequences. By excessively rehashing and over-analyzing a perceived issue, you run the risk of exacerbating the problem instead of finding the true relief you’re seeking. And nowadays, with plenty of social networks and a cell phone with text and email capabilities attached to your hip, it’s super-easy to co-ruminate with your BFF 24/7. Beware. Though it may feel great to self-disclose and talk with someone who gets it, the obsessive venting can also reinforce, amplify and even trigger negative feelings about your situation.
In the same study, researchers found that having a problem-solving focus to any conversation helped steer the person from wallowing in their troubles. Instead of simply focusing on the negativity of the situation (like daily trash talking your ex-boyfriend or your soul-sucking job), set a time limit for yourself on how long you will talk about the problem and make an effort to garner specific advice from friends on how to handle the situation. Focusing on the solution can help elevate your mind out of the quicksand of anxiety and into a space that allows you to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, we can also help by providing you with information about anxiety counseling on our dedicated page or in person, if you are ready to make a counseling appointment.