Just one conversation a day can improve your mental health
A little chat can make a huge difference to your state of mind
image 'North Hollywood' (2021), Illegal Civilisation
words Megan Wallace
If you're having a hard day, talking it through with someone really can make you feel a hundred times better. Hey, isn't that part of the thinking behind talking therapy? And while we know, instinctively, that chatting to people can make us feel good and improve our mental health, is there an optimum amount of talking we need to do in order to reap the benefits?
Well, don't worry, there's no need to talk yourself hoarse. A new paper titled (spoiler alert!) Quality Conversation Can Increase Daily Well-Being, published in the journal Communication Research suggested that the key to talking yourself to mental health could be pretty simple.
The researchers firstly identified seven types of communication within social interactions: catching up, meaningful talk, joking, showing care, listening, valuing others' opinions, and giving compliments.
Then, across three studies, the 900 enlisted participants were tasked with engaging in any one of these communication types once a day, either in person, via phone calls or digitally. At the end of each day, they reflected on how they felt and also on factors such as how stressed, connected, anxious or lonely they felt.
The major finding from the results is this: engaging in as little as one type of communication with one friend each day can improve daily well-being, especially when it comes to lowering stress levels and making people feel more connected.
However, the feel-good factor doesn't plateau after one chat with a pal - far from it. In fact, the more interactions you have, the better you feel. It really is that simple.
The researchers did indicate, however, that digital methods of communication like WhatsApping or sending DMs wasn't as effective as chatting in person. So take this as your cue to invite your friend for a coffee this week.