The Write Way to Reduce Stress

How jotting your thoughts down can ease your mind.
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When taking a deep breath and counting to 10 aren't enough to stem your stress, try putting pen to paper. "Writing down your feelings helps you stop dwelling on past events, which reduces stress and allows for better sleep," says James W. Pennebaker, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, in Austin.

In fact, researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, found 21 cancer patients slept longer and with fewer interruptions during the night after venting their feelings on paper, compared with 21 patients who wrote about their diet and exercise.

To stop stress from stealing your ZZZs, Dr. Pennebaker recommends setting aside 20 minutes each day for four consecutive days to write. Find a place where you won't be distracted, and pour out your thoughts without stopping -- or worrying about spelling or grammar. It's not the punctuation, but the release of feelings that will make you feel better and snooze more soundly.

 

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