Expressing painful emotions is hard—yet it can actually improve our mental and physical health. This lucid, compassionate book has introduced tens of thousands of readers to expressive writing, a simple yet powerful self-help technique grounded in scientific research. Leading experts James W. Pennebaker and Joshua M. Smyth describe how taking just a few minutes to write about deeply felt personal experiences or problems may help you:
• Heal old emotional wounds
• Feel a greater sense of well-being
• Decrease stress
• Improve relationships
• Boost your immune system
Vivid stories and examples yield compelling insights into secrets, self-disclosure, and the hidden price of silence. The third edition incorporates findings from hundreds of recent studies and includes practical exercises to help you try expressive writing for yourself. It features extensive new information on specific health benefits, as well as when the approach may not be helpful.
Table of Contents:
1. “Shh … It's a Secret”: Beginning to Explore the Connection between Confession and Health
2. The Invention of the Expressive Writing Approach
3. What's on Your Mind?: Health Benefits of Verbal and Written Disclosure
4. Dealing with Chronic Health Problems Using Expressive Writing
5. Writing to Clear the Mind: Expressive Writing in Learning and Education
6. “Get These Thoughts Out of My Head!”: Getting Past Obsessions, Insomnia, and Bouts of Stupidity
7. To Speed Up or Slow Down?: How People Differ in Coping with Trauma
8. “I'm Here for You … or Am I?”: The Audience on the Other End of Our Words
9. How Does Writing Help Us Secure a Healthier and Happier Future?
10. Pulling It All Together: Recommendations for Your Use of Expressive Writing
About the Authors:
James W. Pennebaker, PhD, the originator of expressive writing, is Regents Centennial Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Pennebaker conducts award-winning research and has published numerous books on the links between expressive writing and physical and mental health.
Joshua M. Smyth, PhD, is Professor of Biobehavioral Health and of Medicine at The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Smyth has conducted extensive research on expressive writing and other innovative methods for promoting health and well-being and coping with stress.