Expressive Writing

Expressive Writing is a positive psychology interventional strongly connected to mental wellness. This is because it is an expression of our soul using a personal, emotional, and unconventional writing style. Expressive Writing pays no attention to traditional grammar, punctuation, or subject-verb agreement. Rather, it focuses on preoccupations of the mind and heart, such as feelings rather than events, memories, objects, or people in a narrative. Expressive Writing functions much like a story, which has a beginning, middle, and end. Sometimes the act of writing in this manner may resolve itself by moving onto firmer ground but often, it is turbulent and unpredictable. The beauty of this exercise is that there are no wrongs; it is not so much about what happened as it is how you feel about what has happened or is happening (Evans, 2012).

Expressive Writing and Judaism

In Jewish thought, we are always reflecting upon our thoughts, deeds, and actions in order to start the process of repentance and gain a higher spiritual level. The act of reflecting sharpens our perspective and allows us to see things in a new, insightful manner. The act of journaling our feelings may not be something we all do with ease but it is a skill that can be learned.

Psychologist James Pennebaker of the University of Texas has discovered the power of engaging in Expressive Writing for 20 minutes a day for 3 or 4 days in a row focusing on one experience, which may eventually branch out to others. Pennebaker’s early experiments with Expressive Writing essentially served as an antidepressant for the subjects in his study. In addition, the British Journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment reports that expressive writing has many benefits and positive health and behavioral outcomes, such as:

·         Fewer stress-related incidents and medical visits to the doctor

·         Lower blood pressure

·         Fewer days spent in the hospital

·         Improved immune system

·         Improved lung and liver functions

·         Less incidences of depression before examinations

·         Improved overall mood and memory

·         Less days taken off from work

·         More chances of being re-employed after job loss

·         Improved sports performance

·         Improved grade point average for students

·         Altered social and linguistic behavior

When we incorporate expressive writing into our routines, we will become sound in our mind, heart, and soul. Our overall health, work performance, and mental wellness will increase, and we will discover ourselves in the process. We will also reflect upon our past thoughts, deeds, and actions in accordance with Jewish teachings and discover introspection.