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Expressive Writing as Therapeutic Intervention
|by Dr. Sutapa Chaudhuri|
... for Reducing Stress and Diabetic Symptoms
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness, kidney failure, and other fatal diseases in the world. Conditions such as stress and depression have been shown to worsen diabetic symptoms. Expressive writing – writing about one's deepest thoughts and feelings – enhances physical and psychological well-being. It may help change the way diabetes patients think and feel about their disease. Data indicate that expressive writing (an activity during which individuals deal with stressful experiences by writing about them on paper) has beneficial effects on psychological and physiological outcomes. Diabetes patients can also benefit from expressive writing as effective stress management has a positive result in improving their diabetic symptoms.
Certain life events may be more likely than others to have deleterious health consequences because of their links to emotional expression. Life events related to stress are silent killers as they are the main reasons behind the onset of diseases like diabetes. Under circumstances such as a post traumatic stress disorder, individuals often try to inhibit thoughts and feelings about their experiences. Often attempts at thought suppression may actually lead to an increase in thoughts about the very experience that they are trying to erase from memory. Such inhibition, especially if it continues for extended period of time can exacerbate stress and in turn lead to declines in immune system functioning and other markers of physical health.
Emotional expression by nature is an inherently social activity. The ultimate purpose of language is to communicate ideas and thoughts with other people. When one talks to other people about his or her experiences, it allows him/her to remain socially tied to them. Conversely people who have traumatic experiences but do not tell their friends are more likely to live in a detached, isolated state. Disclosure thus has the power to change the quality of a person’s social network by bringing people closer together and serves as a force of social integration and stress reducer by consequence. Even private disclosure in the form of expressive writing helps free a person from the stress of a non-disclosed even showing that perceptual, cognitive, emotional, linguistic and social processes all undoubtedly contribute and influence each other.
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