Talking about a problem with someone else usually makes it seem less daunting or troubling.

Just tell me what’s bothering you. You know what they say—a problem shared is a problem halved.

And a great way to share a problem is to tell a story in a song – or just having a chat with someone.

The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ may have been based on scientific fact, according to a new study.
Researchers from California have proved that the best way to beat stress is to share your feelings – and sharing with someone in the same situation yields the best results.
This is because sharing a threatening situation with a person in a similar emotional state ‘buffers individuals from experiencing the heightened levels of stress that typically accompany threat’, claimed the study.
A total of 52 people were paired up and asked to make a speech while being taped by researchers from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.
Prior to each speech, participants were encouraged to discuss how they felt about public speaking with the researchers, and their fellow participants. Other participants were told not to discuss their feelings.
Levels of the stress hormone cortisol were measured before, during and after each participants speech.
The researchers found that stress levels were significantly reduced when the participants were able to vocalise how they felt about the speeches.
This was most noticeable when the discussion was had with a fellow participant, in which they shared a common fear.
Lead researcher Professor Sarah Townsend, believes sharing experiences could help people deal with stress in the workplace.
‘For instance, when you’re putting together an important presentation or working on a high-stakes project, these are situations that can be threatening and you may experience heightened stress.
‘But talking with a colleague who shares your emotional state can help decrease this stress.’
‘Imagine you are one of two people working on an important project: if you have a lot riding on this project, it is a potentially stressful situation,’ added Professor Townsend.
‘But having a coworker with a similar emotional profile can help reduce your experience of stress.’
It is hoped the research may help people from different cultural backgrounds communicate better in the workplace.
The findings were published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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