Expressive writing for mental health

Published: July, 2011

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).

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »