Writing and health
21 January 2011
Taking a moment to write about a troubling event in your life can make
you feel better and may actually play a role in altering your brain in
ways that give you benefits beyond the immediate catharsis.
Dr. James Pennebaker of the University of Texas at Austin found that those who wrote about an emotional upheaval
in their lives 15-20
minutes a day for 4 consecutive days experienced stronger immune
systems. Students that wrote about their worries or anxieties saw
It seems counterintuitive, but translating an experience into language
involves different parts of the brain and helps with healing.
“Emotional upheavals touch every part of our lives,” Pennebaker
explains. “You don’t just lose a job, you don’t just get divorced.
These things affect all aspects of who we are—our financial situation,
our relationships with others, our views of ourselves, our issues of
life and death. Writing helps us focus and organize the experience.”
Note that Dr. Pennebaker doesn't necessarily recommend keeping a daily
diary for this purpose, “But standing back every now and then and
evaluating where you are in life is really important.”
Sian Beilock writes the following in her book Choke
: "Expressive writing
reduces negative thinking, which frees up cognitive horsepower to
tackle what comes your way."
Interesting, and perhaps worth a try.
Screenshot of Chapters for iPad.