In James Pennebaker’s (professor at the University of Texas) study, he found that the people who wrote about emotionally charged episodes experienced a marked increase in their physical and mental well-being.
They were happier, less depressed, and less anxious. In the months after the writing sessions, they had lower blood pressure, better immune function, and fewer doctor visits. They also reported higher quality relationships, better memory, and more success at work.
Try this writing exercise for yourself (believe me, you’ll be glad you did) . . .
pennebaker’s writing rules
Set a timer for 20 minutes. Open your notebook, or create a new document on your computer. When the timer starts, begin writing about your emotional experiences from the past week, month, or year. Don’t worry about punctuation, sloppiness, or coherence. Simply go wherever your mind takes you, curiously and without judgment.
Write just for yourself and not for some eventual reader. Do this for a few days. Then throw the paper away (or stick it in a bottle and cast it out to sea), or close the document without saving it. Or if you’re ready, start a blog or find a literary agent. It doesn’t matter. The point is that those thoughts are now out of you and on the page. You have begun the process of “stepping out” from your experience to gain perspective on it.