This link is to a New York Times article that describes how writing — and then rewriting — your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.
Expressive writing, along with its many health benefits, can also help you with a life-course correction.
Below is an excerpt from a letter by Ruth Crocker, author of Those Who Remain to James Pennebaker, co-author of Expressive Writing: Words that Heal, regarding the helpful insight she received after reading Expressive Writing: Words that Heal.
“There is no question that this process of digging into the story and looking for my personal “truth” was immensely restorative. When I found your book, I felt such synchronicity with the process you describe that I had to share my pleasure with you.
Thank you for sharing your discoveries of the amazing impact that writing can have on healing from loss.”
James Pennebaker’s top tips for expressive writing
- Ask yourself if you need to write. If you find yourself thinking about something too much, dreaming about it or obsessing about it in some way, writing could be beneficial.
- Promise yourself you’ll write for a minimum of 15 minutes a day for three or four days.
- Don’t worry about spelling.
- Write for yourself, not for an audience: this is not a letter to someone, this is for you.
- Plan on destroying what you’ve written, though whether or not you actually destroy it doesn’t matter.
Pennebaker is quick to point out that the act of confessing or expressing trauma has been part of healing for virtually all cultures, ranging from Native American indigenous cultures to those based on both Western and Eastern religious beliefs.
Dr. James Pennebaker, co-author of recent book, Expressive Writing: Words that Heal, “cites statistical evidence confirming that people who write about traumatic experiences make fewer doctor visits and lead happier lives.”
Try it! 15 min a day for 4 days….not much to invest for a happier life!