Expressive Writing: Reaping the Benefits

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tell your story


Many people dismiss owning a diary to something of the past. Often times people think journals and diaries are just for kids and pre-teens who want to write about their crush. But, experts have found personal well-being benefits as a result of using a pen and paper to bring to life one’s own thoughts, feelings, experiences, ideas, and future aspirations. James Pennebaker, a Professor from University of Texas, has conducted experiments on the benefits of expressive writing and found that, when done regularly, it has numerous benefits. Some of these benefits include positive affects on recovering from traumatic situations, alleviating stress and depression, initiating goals, and boosting one’s immune system.

The beauty of having a diary is that it is solely your decision what you choose to use it for. On any given day, it can be used as an emotional outlet, a safe haven to write your inner most personal thoughts, or just a place to vent. The only rules to mastering the art of expressive writing, and reaping the benefits of it, is to write freely, and for yourself! Below we’ve included some diary tips on how to get the best use out of your diary, from James Pennebaker’s book Opening Up — the healing power of expressing emotions.


opening up


Here are his first-timer diary keeper’s tips:

  • Find a time and place to write where you won’t be disturbed. Ideally, pick a time at the end of your work day or before you go to bed.
  • Promise yourself that you will write for a minimum of 15 minutes a day at least three or four consecutive days.
  • Once you begin writing, write continuously. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar.
  • Don’t censor what you write. Write just for yourself

If you are faced with ‘blank page syndrome’ and don’t know where to start, try writing about:

  • Something that you are thinking or worrying about too much
  • Something that you have dreamed recently
  • Something that you have been avoiding
  • The best thing that happened today”

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Are you struggling with depression and stress, or recovering from a traumatic event? It may be helpful to talk with someone and begin using expressive writing in your daily life.  Give us a call  to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378, and one of our Orlando Individual Counselors, Orlando Life Coaches, Orlando Teen Counselors, and Orlando Child counselors would be more than happy to help you, a family member, or a friend work on changing your life.

-Always be open to new ways of expressing yourself

-Virginia Johnson