Due to the multiple competing demands in life, whether in career, personal or in other aspects, humans become vulnerable to experience anxiety and stress. Fortunately, Michigan State University (MSU) researchers are able to find another way to alleviate Worrying, which could lead to anxiety, stress and other related health issues.

Worrying appears to be an innate attitude among humans but overdoing such disposition could put some added pressure on one’s health and immune system. Too much worrying could also trigger stress and anxiety, which can be unhealthy in both physical and psychological aspects if it becomes unmanageable, HealthLine noted.

The study

Worrying, stress, and anxiety are considered a normal part of life. However, these can make a great impact on one’s health if the worries and stress become uncontrollable.

There are several simple ways to help one cope with the stressors in their lives, especially when it comes to worrying. According to Pulse Headlines, a new MSU study published in the journal Psychophysiology showed that journaling or Expressive writing could be an effective way to lessen the pressure caused by worrying.

Hans Schroder, a lead study author, Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital’s clinical intern and psychology doctoral student at MSU, explained that their findings showed that people could become more efficient when they get rid of their worries in their minds through expressive writing.

Schroder added that worrying consumes the cognitive resources, hence, worriers often struggle in coping with stressful tasks.


As per MSU’s Clinical Psychophysiology Laboratory director and psychology associate professor Jason Moser, expressive writing can also make the brain “work less hard and hotter” when given stressful tasks.

It also reduces the “burned out” feeling among chronic worriers.

This journaling technique also “takes the edge off” the brains of worriers that is why they can perform the task more efficiently and with “cooler heads.” Aside from worrying, expressive writing could also help individuals process stressful events and past traumas, Morning Ticker reported.

Similar studies

The recent MSU research showed the neural evidence of expressive writing for the first time. However, there are similar studies that supported the findings of the researchers. In fact, “Writing to Heal” author James Pennebaker also tackled the benefits of writing and its connection to the immune system and emotional health.

Through Pennebaker’s 1986 research, the field of Psychoneuroimmunology was introduced. The study also gave experts the opportunity to determine how writing one’s experiences help in the improvement of the immune system.

Another study from Wolters Kluwer Health, which was published in American Psychosomatic Society’s official journal Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine in May, also showed similar findings. The technique called “narrative expressive writing” reportedly helped people going through a divorce.

According to lead study author and University of Arizona’s (Tucson) psychology doctoral student Kyle J. Bourassa, the technique is not just dealing with emotions but more on writing “a meaning narrative of their experience.” The researchers concluded that creating a “structured narrative” helped lessen the harmful impacts of stress linked to marital separation in the cardiovascular health.

Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation funded the recent MSU study that showed the neural effects of expressive journaling. So, if you want to relieve yourself from the daily stressors of life, all you need to do is a five-minute expressive writing per day.