We’ve written in an earlier article that writing down your negative thoughts and feelings may help you let go of them. Unfortunately, there are exceptions.

A recent study featured on MedicalNewsToday.com reveals that having newly separated couples keep a journal doesn’t help with emotional processing--in fact, it hinders it. David Sbarra from the University of Arizona and his team worked with 90 divorced or separated individuals who have just ended their marriages three months prior. They were assigned to three groups: one group had to write about their feelings in a journal-like style; another group was asked to narrate the story of their marriages from the beginning to end; while the last, which was the control group, had to simply keep a tally of their daily activities sans thoughts or emotions. All groups were requested to write for 20 minutes for three consecutive days. The researchers then did a follow up after eight months.

The results were surprising. Those who were initially considered as “high ruminators” or those who tended to brood too much benefited more from writing unemotional journal entries or jotting down their daily tasks than from pouring out what they feel on paper.

Although writing is still a good way of processing emotional experiences, it may not be the best course of action for some. Getting your life back together after a painful separation means that you’ll need all the time in the world to put things into perspective. Just remember that you don’t have to do it alone--more than just a pen and a piece of paper, you have your family and friends to always support you.

(Photo by Joe Houghton via Flickr Creative Commons)

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