Expressive Writing Is Key To Reducing Anxiety Stress

September 19, 2017

© Ivan Kruk Dreamstime

We're mostly guilty of worrying about various things at one time or another.  But all that worrying is adding stress to an already maxed out mind!  Besides exercise and venting to relieve stress, expressive writing appears to be just as effective of relaxing your mind.  A new study says that simply writing down your feelings can reduce anxiety and help you perform an upcoming stressful task more efficiently. The study took two groups of people that were presented with a task to accomplish the following day.  The first group had to write about their deepest thoughts and feelings about the upcoming task for eight minutes.  While the second group had to write about what they did the day before for a total of eight minutes.  What they found is the group that wrote about the upcoming task in an expressive way were found to use fewer brain resources compared to the other writing group. In other words, the group who wrote about their worries were able to offload these worries versus those who didn't write out their feelings. Expressive writing makes the mind work less hard on upcoming stressful tasks, which is what worriers often get “burned out” over, their worried minds working harder and hotter. While much previous research has shown that expressive writing can help individuals process past traumas or stressful events, the current study suggests the same technique can help people – especially worriers – prepare for stressful tasks in the future.

SOURCE: Michigan State University

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