Keep on Talking: Why Oversharing Is Actually Good for You

Ever notice how good you feel after venting – to a friend, to a therapist, even a stranger who was willing to listen?

Keep on Talking: Why Oversharing Is Actually Good for You
Keep on Talking: Why Oversharing Is Actually Good for You

Ever notice how good you feel after venting – to a friend, to a therapist, even a stranger who was willing to listen?

The health benefits of self-disclosure should come as no surprise. Interestingly, we devote 30-40% of our speech to informing others about our own experiences: What we did over the weekend; how that date went the other night; or the delectable dinner your honey made last Tuesday. However, I’m sure we all know someone who shares – or overshares – much more than that. Therapists call this “self-disclosure catharsis.”


According to a May 2012 study, disclosing information about the self has been found to activate our brain’s intrinsic “reward” pathway, which may improve our mood and lighten our stress. This pathway produces feelings of reward, desire, and satisfaction. It has also been linked to addiction and depression.

Oversharing is so addicting that the same study found that many were willing to forego money to disclose about the self.

Experts also suggest that self-disclosure procures adaptive advantages in a number of ways: By strengthening social bonds with others; by eliciting feedback from others to attain self-knowledge; by showing others that you want to know what they know ("I got this on my exam. What did you get?"). Our need to self-disclose to the point of oversharing is mere proof of how social we are as a species.

Now, there’s one more way that I want you to use self-disclosure to your benefit: Tell your doctor everything. We often overlook the need for better doctor-patient communication. So be sure to ask the right questions and bring whatever it is that’s been bothering you to the attention of your physician – especially if it’s out of the ordinary: The number of times you needed to use the bathroom; those pesky pounds you can’t get rid of; that achy pain in your right calf for which you popped a few too many aspirin; or those headaches that have been plaguing you all week. Keep a list of questions and concerns in your smartphone or notepad, so you don’t forget. It’s better to overdo it than under-do it.

Even though your doctor may not be able to address every issue during your appointment, he or she will at least be aware of important issues to address – including issues that may save your life.


Will you ever feel comfortable in your own skin? That is, if you don't make an effort to protect it? Although 64% of adults do report wearing sunscreen when outside for prolonged periods of time, it turns out that only about 10% of people surveyed actually protect themselves daily, according to a recent review.

No matter what your skin tone is, unless you live in a cave with no sunlight, daily protection with either sunscreen, sunblock or protective clothing can not only protect you from developing sunburns (ouch!) but can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, particularly the deadliest type called melanoma. In addition, for those of you wanting to keep your youthful looks, daily sunscreen has been shown to reduce the development of wrinkles. A great teacher once told me that the best way to not have wrinkles is not to get them in the first place (think of how much money you can save on useless creams that claim to diminish wrinkles).

Keep Reading Show less