Expressive writing, also called emotional or therapeutic writing, is a simple and well-proven method of self-help. So one writes oneself the soul empty or differently said, one empties everything on a white sheet of paper. Memories and negative emotions are processed sustainably in this way and you soon feel much easier and more relaxed. The result: a much more comfortable lifestyle, more openness to social contacts and a stronger immune system.
Expressive writing as a self-healing method
When and how does expressive writing work?
Expressive letter to James Pennebaker has been around for a while. Already the first studies from Pennebaker and Beall (1986) with students have clearly shown positive effects. Since then, many studies have been carried out, not only in psychology and medicine, but also in many other areas.
Everybody has repeatedly confirmed that emotional, therapeutic writing in many cases has a positive, beneficial effect on body and soul.
When is expressive writing highly recommended?
- in post-traumatic stress disorder
- in mild depressive moods
- as a prevention of depression and psychosomatic illnesses
- with test anxiety or stage fright
- at stress and inner restlessness
Expressive writing is similar to writing a diary
Why is expressive writing so effective?
In the first place one should be aware that the suppression of feelings and thoughts, if they are stressful, has a very negative impact on health. The constant pondering puts a strain on the psyche and can lead to depression or different psychosomatic illnesses. All of this is then reflected in the body. Weakened immune system, increased irritability and chronic sleep disorders can be the result.
The emotional release through expressive writing is controlled successfully against it. Emotions and thoughts as well as traumatic experiences are put into words and in this way better structured or processed. This process releases thought and frees up more cognitive resources, which also means more working memory is available. You feel more relaxed, more focused and more efficient. The social interaction works much better. You open yourself again to the others and the world.
Write yourself healthy!
Where are the limits of expressive writing?
As simple and effective as this method may be, unfortunately there are cases in which it has no effect or can even be counterproductive. Expressive writing should not be used especially in severe physical and mental illnesses such as heart failure, psychosis or major depression (Horn, Mehl and Deters 2012). Because the inside show already calls for a more stable physical and mental condition in order to be more effective.
You should be very aware when writing
Expressive Writing – Quick Start Guide
The method is really simple. You are looking for a quiet place where you feel comfortable and remain undisturbed. Turn off your phone and write about a topic you’ve chosen for about 15-20 minutes on three to five consecutive days. This should be an emotionally charged topic – an unsolved problem, a certain fear, lovesickness, relationship issues, divorce or the death of a loved one, etc.
However, experts recommend waiting at least a month or two after the particular experience before beginning the expressive writing. The emotional charge in this method is quite large and that can upset one too much. If this is the case, you should stop writing and continue with this later. They should not force anything. Of course, emotional writing does not replace the need for psychotherapy, and if the problem persists despite writing it for a long time, you should consult a specialist.
Quiet favorite places are best for expressive writing
Expressive writing is a very effective self-coaching tool for the emotional processing of everyday experiences, traumas and stress. As a result, the soul is”emptied”and you get to a lasting happiness. The constant pondering is restrained and one is much more efficient and concentrated. Writing creates new neural connections and new information and energy flows. Another logical consequence: the immune system is strengthened and you lead a much more relaxed and fulfilling life.
Include the expressive writing in your everyday life!
You can also try it with the laptop
Make a special experience out of it
In addition to valuable stationery, for example, you can brew a delicious coffee
Subsequent meditation enhances the soothing effect of writing
In children, expressive writing can be replaced by painting