Expressive writing 'can help people manage stress'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

A new psychological study has demonstrated the benefits that expressive writing can provide in helping people to manage stress.

The Michigan State University research identified a group of chronically anxious people and asked half of them to write about their deepest thoughts and feelings about an upcoming challenging task, while the other half wrote about what they did the day before.

“Expressive writing can help to relax the mind and allow people to perform stressful tasks more efficiently, according to a new study.“

Both groups performed the subsequent task with similar speed and accuracy, but those who took part in the more expressive writing exercise performed more efficiently, meaning they used fewer brain resources in the process.

This indicates that people who are affected by chronic worries that cause them to expend unnecessary energy in their day-to day lives may benefit from expressive writing exercises.

Jason Moser, associate professor of psychology and director of the university's clinical psychophysiology lab, said: "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."

This aligns with previous research showing that expressive writing can help individuals process past traumas or stressful events.

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