Plenty of Americans are overworked, and although it might seem like a good idea to further your career, burning out is a very real risk. If your office isn’t properly set up to do this scientifically proven stress relief activity, and you can’t manage to sneak out of the office for an hour, the tension in your shoulders is probably going to compound and you’re probably going to get pretty overwhelmed with stress at some point.
But there is hope on the horizon, hope that is easily achievable with the help of your trusty legal pad and Bic stick pen, according to the Economic Times.
Expressive writing is the rub, posits a new study from Michigan State University (MSU). Simply putting down how one is feeling on paper does wonders for one’s worries, and excess worrying requires precious cognitive power. Your fretting basically takes up an additional task slot in your brain, so you may think you’re just working on a spreadsheet when in fact you’re putting some heavy strain on your brain.
“Our findings show that if you get these worries out of your head through expressive writing, those cognitive resources are freed up to work toward the task you’re completing and you become more efficient, says Hans Schroeder a doctoral student at MSU and the study’s lead author, via the Economic Times.
The study was published in Psychophysiology and involved a methodology of subjecting college students who reported being chronically anxious to a series of cognitive computer tests. One group would write about how they were feeling before the test, while the other group would just write about they did the day before. Both writing groups wrote for eight minutes, but the group who express their feelings on the page tested significantly better efficiency-wise in the exercise.
Jason Moser, an associate professor of psychology at MSU, expanded on the theorized reason for the improvement.
“Expressive writing makes the mind work less hard on upcoming stressful tasks, which is what worriers often get “burned out” over, their worried minds working harder and hotter,” Moser said. “This technique takes the edge off their brains so they can perform the task with a ‘cooler head.’
The study received funding from both the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. If you don’t have time to journal today, just try out those minutes of writing, the results are hard to argue with. Looking for other stress-relievers? Check out these proven tips for stress-reduction.
[Source: Economic Times]