Telling the truth, coming clean, confessing our sins; the concept of getting rid of our secrets in order to make ourselves feel better is something human beings have been doing for centuries, and according to Scientific American, there is scientific evidence that shows it actually works. Psychologist James W. Pennebaker explains how confessing your secrets, and more specifically writing about difficult or traumatic experiences, can improve your mental, and even physical, health.
Writing about upsetting experiences is more effective when we are completely and totally honest, and putting an experience like that into words can help change our perspective on it. Giving words and meaning to an experience will often help us to better understand it, therefore making it less intimidating and traumatic. People also tend to mull over their negative experiences less once it's out on paper, which helps them to be more socially engaged.
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As you might imagine, re-playing an upsetting experience from the past over and over again is very disruptive to sleep. Being freed from that through expressive writing has shown to be very effective at improving sleep quality. And getting a full night's rest is correlated with better immune function, improved cardiovascular function and better physical health overall.
While truth-telling and expressive writing are by no means a cure-all in the world of mental health, they certainly can help us get through some trying times.