Do i solve problems by talking about it?

Question to the brain

I solve problems by talking about it?

Questioner: Martina Wirth via the Internet

When I discuss my problems with friends, I come up with new solutions. Speaking changes the perception of the problem?

The editor’s answer is:

Tom Brinthaupt from Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center at Middle Tennessee State University:

There are many advantages to talking to friends about our problems. This helps us especially when we talk about very traumatic experiences that we have never told anyone about. It makes us feel better both mentally and physically. However, in this situation we do not primarily solve a problem, but feel better because we speak out.

I can try to answer the question on the basis of research on soliloquy. Then the answer is: it depends. It depends on what problems are involved, how I talk to myself or others about it and what my character is like. Some people have very effective problem solving skills, can view things from different perspectives and regulate their emotions – others cannot. These properties can hinder or facilitate problem solving. This is true when we talk about problems with ourselves or with others.

If, for example, I fear public appearances, I can tell myself: “It will be a disaster. I am not good at it and will certainly make a fool of myself. ”Negative soliloquy can disrupt preparation and actual performance. On the other hand, when I think positively and empower myself about my social interaction or talk to others about it in this way, I am more confident that I will be able to cope with the situation. Accordingly, I should be less afraid and more successful.

Another interesting aspect: If I focus on the details of a situation and anticipate the concrete steps to deal with the problematic situation, this can help. I think that happens a lot when we talk to others about our problems. They come up with alternatives: "Have you ever thought about trying this out? What if you did this? ”When I talk to myself or others like this, it expands my repertoire of actions.

There are other insights from self-talk research that can be applied to speaking to others: in sports, I can improve my performance by telling myself how to perform a particular movement; for example "hold the racket like this" or "position yourself like this". By thinking aloud, I can control the movement better, step back and proceed step by step. Motivational soliloquies such as "work harder" or "hold on" can inspire you. However, this does not apply if the sequence of movements has been learned and automated over the years, so that I no longer have to think. Then it can be annoying when I talk to myself or others about it.

So the best answer to the question of whether talking about problems with ourselves or others solves our problems is: "It depends."

Recorded by Hanna Drimalla


“Emotions” are neuroscientists who understand psychic processes that are triggered by external stimuli and which result in a willingness to act. Emotions arise in the limbic system, an ancient part of the brain in terms of tribal history. Psychologist Paul Ekman has defined six cross-cultural basic emotions, which are reflected in characteristic facial expressions: joy, anger, fear, surprise, sadness and disgust.

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