Disclosing, sharing and expressing emotions: effect on the health and well-being
This article examines the effects of the communication of emotional experiences on health. First, studies on the positive effects of emotional confrontation of traumatic events on health are discussed. Expressive writing and talking were related to benefits in mental and physical health. Second, we analyze studies about social sharing of emotions. Social sharing did not have a positive impact in the recovery of emotional memories and lack of recovery was associated with the perpetuation of social sharing. Alexithymia as a personal deficit in emotional communication or difficulty in identifying and describing emotions is also reviewed. We synthesise data and theory that support alexithymia as a deficit in the ability to process and regulate emotions cognitively and also as a deficit in self-disclosure of emotion. Particular attention and further discussion is given to the complex findings of social sharing, desinhibition and alexithymia. Finally, we discuss the explanatory mechanism of expression and nonexpression of emotions in health and disease.
Ansiedad y Estrés
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