Why writing things down is good for you: poetry and song lyrics (good or dad) help their creators regulate emotions

By William Seidman Common sense tells us that writing things down – possibly to enhance memory but especially to vent – can help us in several ways.   Keeping a diary can make you happier, UCLA associate professor of social neuroscience Matthew Lieberman  has found. Lieberman has studied the act of writing things down and found that writing about emotions, specifically negative ones, can calm the activity of the amygdala and help regulate emotional states. In our work we find that writing things down helps learning as well as emotional states – so it was great to see it reinforced in brain scans. The people we’ve coached report a greater sense of personal power and enhanced comfort level with organizational and personal change when they’ve written things down. The act of writing down something emotionally difficult relocates the unpleasantness from the brain’s fear center to its intellectual center – and this makes a huge difference in a person’s ability to cope with the new information or changes.]]>

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