People should write down their fears, problems and worries more often
If you often suffer from stress, anxiety and worry, you should write down your problems and feelings. Researchers have now found that so-called expressive writing can help overcome anxiety and worry and also help solve upcoming stressful tasks.
In their current study, Michigan State University scientists found that writing down thoughts, feelings and fears helps to combat them and also makes it easier to solve future tasks. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Psychophysiology".
You can solve tasks more effectively if you write down problems related to the task beforehand
For example, if you face an important and stressful task at work, you should write down any worries and fears that you have. Technology could help you manage the task ahead more effectively. This is the conclusion reached by Michigan State University researchers when measuring brain activity.
Neural evidence corroborates the results
The current study found neuronal evidence of the benefits of expressing concerns and problems through expressive writing for the first time, explains author Hans Schroder, a doctoral student in psychology and clinical intern at the internationally recognized Harvard Medical School McLean Hospital.
Worries and problems take up important cognitive resources
If you are concerned, this takes up so-called cognitive resources. People who have to deal with concerns are constantly in a kind of multitasking mode when they want to complete a task. They do their job, but at the same time they are worried and try to suppress it. "Our results show that if you expressively drive these worries out of your head, you release cognitive resources that help you complete the tasks more effectively," Schroder said in a Michigan State University press release.
The subjects consisted of students with chronic anxieties
For the study, college students with chronic fears were recruited, who had previously been identified by a validated screening measure, the scientists explain. Participants had to take a test on a computer that determined their accuracy and response times. About half of the subjects previously wrote down their deepest thoughts and feelings about the task ahead. They had a total of eight minutes to do this. The other half of the participants were the control group and were writing about their previous day's activities.
Expressive writing helps you perform tasks more effectively
The results of the study showed that both groups completed the tasks at approximately the same speed and with the same accuracy. The participants in the group with the expressive writing performed the task more efficiently. They used less brain resources in the task.
Expressive writing also helps deal with trauma
While previous research has shown that expressive writing can help individuals cope with past trauma or stressful events, the current research found that the same technique helps people prepare for stressful tasks in the future, the experts explain. Expressive writing takes less of the mind when it comes to solving challenging tasks. This technique enables those affected to do the job with a cooler head, so to speak, the doctors add. (as)