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Writing about negative feelings

"It’s hard work to keep our deep negative feelings hidden. Over time, this cumulative stress undermines our physiological defenses and seems to weaken our immunity." - Mind/Body Health newsletter

Based on the above statement Mind/Body Health newsletter put together a series of studies to see if writing about negative feelings would prove helpful.

In one study Two groups of people were asked to write for 15 to 20 minutes a day for three to five consecutive days. One group wrote about ordinary matters such as their plans for the day. The other group was asked to write about their deepest thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event they experienced.

At the end of the study the group that wrote about a traumatic event reported fewer symptoms, fewer visits to the doctor, fewer days off work, improved mood, and a more positive outlook. The immune function was enhanced for at least six weeks after writing.

In another study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, they used a similar format. But in this study people had asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. After 4 months, nearly half of those who wrote about traumatic events showed significant improvements in their health while only a quarter of the control patients showed improvement. Further, only 5% of the experimental group got worse and more than 20% of the control group worsened.

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copyright 2005 O.Frank