Prof James Pennebaker Strategies for Personal Growth; Journaling & Expressive Writing


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Professor James Pennebaker is a renowned psychologist and the region centennial chair of psychology at the University of Texas. Professor Pennebaker has done extensive research on the benefits of expressive writing, and in this episode he joins me to talk about his findings.

Today, James shares how he got into his research. He discusses the science behind how writing things down can have a positive impact on both mental and physical health. He explains why he believes that most people can benefit from just three or four days at a time of this type of writing, and he explains its goal. We talk about what expressive writing is, and what it isn’t. He shares what boredom in your writing can tell you about yourself and your situation. We discuss the different scientific health benefits of expressive writing, and James shares some practical tips for starting out. He emphasizes that there is no right or wrong way to do it, and he explains why it is particularly powerful for people undergoing transition.

“The writing is for you, and you alone.” - Professor James Pennebaker

This week on In the Doctor’s Chair

  • The positive impact of writing things down
  • The link between keeping quiet about upsetting experiences and negative physical health
  • Why most people can benefit from expressive writing
  • Why expressive journaling is short term, not long term
  • The difference between expressive writing and blowing off steam
  • How an expressive writer is like a good cook
  • Why expressive writing is powerful for anyone in a stage of transition

In the Doctor’s Chair

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