Thursday, March 6, 2014

Learning a Valuable Lesson Part II

Some embarrassing moments become traumatic events to some people. Expressive writing is one way for you to pour out your emotions on the negative events that occur in your life. I’m a big fan of expressive writing, not only for the resulting peace of mind but also for the healing benefits. 

In a recent study, Koschwanez et al. (2013) concluded that expressive writing can stimulate wound healing. The expressive writers wrote in 20 minute segments for 3 days, expressing their emotions about a traumatic event they experienced. The control group wrote in 20 minute segments for 3 days about a neutral topic. Two weeks later, researchers delivered a puncture wound to the expressive writers and to the control group. (I know—this is a bit unsettling.) Eleven days after the puncture wounds were administered, approximately 76% of the experimental group's (expressive writers) wounds were healed while only approximately 42% of the control group's wounds were healed.   

This demonstrates the power of writing! I wonder what other kinds of healing take place in our bodies when we write expressively.

Write expressively about an embarrassing moment you had. Consider the following:

  • How did you feel when it happened? Anything goes!
  • How do you feel now? Anything goes!

For 15-20 minutes, pour out your emotions of anger, frustration, disappointment, outrage, discouragement, and the like. 

After you have completed your expressive writing, consider taking a different approach. Write about your embarrassing event in narrative form.

  • Describe what led up to the event.
  • Describe the setting.
  • Describe the people involved.
  • Describe the event.
  • Describe your thoughts and feelings.
  • Describe what happened after the event.
  • Describe how you will cope with it.

Remember, we all have embarrassing moments. It’s what you do with them that matters.

How has your embarrassing moment impacted you? This is the story in you. Share it.


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Koschwanez, H., Kerse, N., Darragh, M., Jarrett, P., Booth R., Broadbent, E. (2013). Expressive writing and wound healing. Psychosom Med. Jul-Aug;75(6):581-90.

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