The Science of Negative Writing

I have discovered the easiest and most effective way of developing an awareness of my response to stress is to simply write down my disruptive, anxiety-producing thoughts and destroy them. It has been shown in over 200 research papers that this is an effective way of changing the body’s response to stress. Stress is not the problem. It is your response to it. The reason to tear up, shred, or burn your writing is not to get rid of the thoughts. These are permanent pathways. It is so you can write with complete freedom. The darker the thoughts that you can put on paper the more effective the exercise. Write and Don’t Stop

In my opinion the writing accomplishes several things.

  • It creates an awareness that these random thoughts are in your nervous system and that they are just thoughts that do not deserve your attention.
  • As the paper is a physical distance from you it allows you to separate from these thoughts. It is easier to see that they are just thoughts and have nothing to do with your reality.
  • This space is connected with vision and feel, which connects with the unconscious.
  • As you are connecting a thought with a physical sensation, you are creating new pathways.

Negative writing creates awareness and causes detachment with one exercise. It is simple and concrete – and doable. It was the first treatment that was helpful for me after trying to solve my chronic pain for over 15 years. I was lucky to have discovered it, as I was nearing the end of what I could tolerate.