Putting an experience into words may ease stress and trauma.
Stress, trauma, and unexpected life developments — such as a
cancer diagnosis, a car accident, or a layoff — can throw people
off stride emotionally and mentally. The natural response is to
wonder why something bad happened and what to do next. In some
people, this can lead to rumination — dwelling on the event — and
possibly to a mental health problem, such as depression or
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Expressive writing — a technique that involves writing about
thoughts and feelings that arise from a traumatic or stressful
life experience — may help some people cope with the emotional
fallout of such events. But it's not a cure-all, and it won't
work for everyone. Expressive writing appears to be more
effective for healthy people who have sustained an emotional blow
than it is for people struggling with ongoing or severe mental
health challenges, such as major depression or PTSD.
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