By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Putting feelings into words makes sadness and anger less intense, U.S. brain researchers said on Wednesday, in a finding that explains why talking to a therapist — or even a sympathetic bartender — often makes people feel better.Worried woman

They said talking about negative feelings activates a part of the brain responsible for impulse control. “This region of the brain seems to be involved in putting on the brakes,” said University of California, Los Angeles researcher Matthew Lieberman, whose study appears in the journal Psychological Science.

“If you are driving along and you see a yellow light, you have to inhibit one response in order to step on the brake,” he said. “This same region helps to inhibit emotional responses as well.”

The results may alter the traditional view of why talking about feelings helps. “I think we all believe that by talking about our feelings, we reach deep new insights, and that understanding is what transforms us,” he said.

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