Happiness is…in coffee and a chat (or why a problem shared is a problem halved)

Happiness is…in coffee and a chat (or why a problem shared is a problem halved)


Everyone (even Dr. Happy) gets upset sometimes. This is perfectly normal and in many circumstances, perfectly appropriate and understandable.

That being said, none of us enjoy feeling upset for too long so almost all of my work for the last 20 years or so has, in some way or other, been focused on helping people enjoy happiness and other positive emotions as much as possible AND to deal with plus bounce back from negative emotions and situations as quickly as possible.

There are, as I’m sure you know, many ways to achieve this but the one I want to focus mostly on today is sharing problems with friends. I’ve been reminded in recent days how lucky I am to have some incredibly supportive loved ones and friends; we sometimes forget these very special people, or take them for granted, but we shouldn’t because I know from personal experience and from the research that it’s these people who boost our positive emotions such as happiness AND help buffer us against negative emotions and deal with stress.

Most of you have probably experienced this yourselves but you might not fully understand WHY it’s so helpful to talk to someone when you’re feeling down so I thought you might like to read a bit about what’s going on.

So what, exactly, happens when you share a problem with a friend? Well, many things including…

  • Clarification of the issue or problems (which then helps determine the best solutions)

  • A gaining of perspective (because the other person is usually not so caught up in whatever the problem is and so can usually see things more objectively)

  • The offering of and consideration of a different opinion (and we should always remember that there are always multiple ways to think about and interpret things)

  • The wonders associated with feeling that someone’s listening to you and that you’re not alone (including the satisfaction that comes from feeling understood) 

  • And so, so much more…

At the risk of repeating myself, therefore, today’s article is all about understanding and appreciating the importance of positive relationships to our happiness, wellbeing and ability to cope. So next time you’re struggling a bit and feeling down remember you don’t have to deal with it all on your own. Pick up the phone or head over to a friends’ and enjoy the wonders and benefits of coffee and a chat.

PS: of course you can replace coffee with tea (or maybe even beer or wine in moderation!) and the results should be pretty much the same!

PS: What else do you find helps when you share a problem with a friend? Share your tips and suggestions HERE on The Happiness Institute's Facebook Page