Evidence That It Works
Compared with a control group that wrote about superficial topics, participants who wrote about traumatic experiences for four consecutive days reported greater happiness three months later, visited the doctor less than usual during a six-week period following the writing exercise, and seemed to have a healthier immune system.
Why Does It Matter?
When students experience a stressful event or major life transition, it’s easy for them to ruminate over that experience; thinking about it can keep them up at night, distract them from school work, and make them feel less connected to others.
This exercise provides a simple, effective way to deal with these challenges and allows students to step back and evaluate their lives. Through writing, they can become active creators of their own life stories—rather than passive bystanders—and as a result feel more empowered to cope with challenges.