I’ve been wanting to write about Pennebaker’s “healing powers of expressive writing” ever since Isobel left a tantalizing link in a comment back in April.
Since my energies and brain-power wax and wane, I’ve been waiting to be ready to write an informative post. Ain’t gonna happen. The being ready. Why wait to share? (As it is, I am struggling here….)
To get started, go read the short article, please, linked in the next paragraph. For more information, see below at “more info.”
“For nearly 20 years, Dr. James W. Pennebaker has been giving people an assignment: write down your deepest feelings about an emotional upheaval in your life for 15 or 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days. Many of those who followed his simple instructions have found their immune systems strengthened. Others have seen their grades improved. Sometimes entire lives have changed.”
As regular readers know, illness has changed my abilities in reading and comprehension. The good news is that back in May when I was still mired in bad muck, I could understand the intent and instructions in Pennebaker’s assignment. No special writing ability is necessary. Note the wisdom about being ready to write about a particular moment. Smart.
I printed out the two callouts from that first link to use as my instructions.
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Truly, it is worth wandering through. (Each link will open in a new tab.)
James Pennebaker’s home page at the University of Texas. At the bottom, see the links, some of which include online exercises. A sampling:
Enhanced guidelines for healing writing, still short, but with a little more to think about.
Insight into your own use of language: http://secretlifeofpronouns.com/exercises.php.
The Online Research Consortium. University of Texas psych research being conducted online–we’re the guinea pigs. Questionnaires out the gazoo. Painless. Anonymous. Kinda fun.
The BBC Radio 4 programme introducing Pennebaker’s research.
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I found all those links after I tried the expressive writing. That’s me anyway–get the gist of something and full steam ahead!
(Here’s a link to the discussion that Isobel and I had. At the end of the comments. Thanks, Isobel.)
I’d really like to hear what you think!