Discussing a painful experience typically helps people cope and find meaning in it. So it's not unreasonable to assume that rehashing the details of a happy event magnifies the joy—and indeed, we tend to want to talk about positive experiences more than negative ones. Unfortunately, researchers now find, recounting some happy memories can diminish your pleasure. The simple act of sharing can:
Talking about a sensory or emotional experience—the taste of your mom's pecan pie, the beauty of a sunset—can dampen the emotions attached to it, according to the Journal of Consumer Research. The act of putting feelings into words is essentially analytical, explains Sarah Moore, a professor at the Alberta School of Business, and "rethinking an emotional experience in an analytical way alters it fundamentally."
Rewrite the Past
When people share stories, the focus is often on being entertaining, not accurate. In the process, the memory can be rewritten, obscuring the facts. "What people remember about events may be the story they last told about those events," observes Duke University psychologist Elizabeth Marsh in Current Directions in Psychological Science.