Pennebaker method and the beneficial effects of creative writing

Something torments us… that’s normal, everybody experiences moments of discouragement, but how can we cope with them?
Write it off!
Putting onto paper our feeling about a painful experience is therapeutic.
It is proven by James Pennebaker’s studies, which have confirmed how creative writing, meant as giving written expression to our thoughts and emotions regarding grievous or traumatic situations, can alleviate discomfort.
So, writing is useful not only to clear our head and vent our feelings, but it can also improve health, foster personal effectiveness, and positively modify behaviours and interpersonal relationships.
Among the beneficial effects of writing, we have:
• Reduction in stress levels and positive effect on the immune system.
• Improvement in mood.
• Reduction in ruminating tendency.
• Improvement in studying and working cognitive performances.

When we put onto paper our concerns, we free part of our working memory and, in this way, we recover the ability to face complex tasks.
Therefore, writing about ourselves means entering a transformation process, a process where different parts of us take shape and express themselves.
When we write freely by following the flow of the current experience, the right part of the brain activates and allows us to be creative, giving space to imagination without feeling caught in the usual mental schemes.
Here is an exercise of creative writing. You have to set the following points:
• Topic (worries, traumatic events, dreams, doubts, fears).
• Duration and time of writing (write for at least 10/15 minutes every day for at least 4 days).
• Way of writing (do not think about the style, mistakes, or punctuation. Let yourself be carried away).
• Addressee (you).

Author of the article: Elisabetta Lodi
Translation: Arianna Corbetta

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