I retrieved some very old Christmas gifts from an old carton box along with the accompanying memories and greeting cards. Specifically, I found a video cassette with a couple of Audrey Hepburn’s movie, an old cheap edition of Anne Frank’s diary and an illustrated paperback edition of Lawrence Durrell’s ‘Bitter Lemons’. The result of my discoveries is the very quick drawing above.
On journal writing
Writing about trauma or difficult experiences engages both hemispheres, activating both the more linear, rational, linguistic, analytical left brain, and the right brain, which is more holistic and contextual and where autobiographical memory resides among other things. This potentially integrative process of expressive writing can assist us in reframing our experience and reconstructing a more empowering and coherent life narrative. Many studies have demonstrated that translating important emotional experience into language allows the reduction of inhibitory processes and is associated with various health benefits. Studies support that writing about trauma and emotional experiences was found to be associated with a significant drop in visits to doctors, and also to influence the activity of the autonomic nervous system and immune cells (T-lymphocytes). Research findings also suggest that writing about emotionally charged experiences and traumatic events was linked to biological responses congruent with states of relaxation and decreased levels of cortisol, months following the expressive writing experience, as well as, an increase in post traumatic growth. Behavioural changes were also observed, such as, improvement of grades for students who participated in research contexts, etc.
Writing about Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process by James W. Pennebaker (Retrieved from http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/HomePage/Faculty/Pennebaker/Reprints/P1997.pdf
Expressive Writing: Connections to Physical and Mental Health by James W. Pennebaker and Cindy K. Chung (2007), Retrieved from http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/HomePage/Faculty/Pennebaker/Reprints/P1997.pdf