For Worriers, Expressive Writing Cools Brain on Stressful Tasks

Posted on September 18, 2017

Hans Schroder, a Michigan State University doctoral student in psychology compares chronic worrying to multitasking: “Worrying takes up cognitive resources; it's kind of like people who struggle with worry are constantly multitasking -- they are doing one task and trying to monitor and suppress their worries at the same time."

Schroder conducted a study on the influence of expressive writing and found that “if you get these worries out of your head through expressive writing, those cognitive resources are freed up to work toward the task you're completing and you become more efficient”.

Often chronic worriers get “burned out” over thinking about a stressful upcoming task. Expressive writing is thought to help worriers with this in the sense that they can “offload” their worries beforehand, which takes the edge off their mind and allows them to perform the task more relaxed.

The research was not only funded by the National Science Foundation, but also the National Institute of Health, and provided the very first neural evidence for the benefits of expressive writing for chronic worriers. While previous research has shown that expressive writing can aid individuals in processing past traumas or other stressful events, the current study suggests that similar techniques can help people prepare for stressful tasks in the future.

Category(s):Stress Management

Source material from Science Daily

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