Recent research: 2 mindfulness studies, 2 on goal setting, 1 on wellbeing & reduction in risk of mental illness, 1 on compassion
Last updated on 5th January 2011
See the two earlier blog posts - "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)" and "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (how-to-do-it)" for fuller details of these self-affirmation, self-transcendence approaches.
This "instructions" post is downloadable as a Word doc.
Here are seven recent research studies - largely about the effects of early life adversity on adult psychological health (although I've slipped in one I find important on the prevalence & effects of subsyndromal/subclinical symptoms). The last two papers touch on the truth or falsity of Nietsche's famous saying "What does not destroy me makes me stronger".
I wrote yesterday about "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)". Today's post looks more at how-to-do-it details. Self-affirmation research describes a number of effective ways to reduce stress, clarify thinking, and boost effectiveness. If the affirmation exercise is being done in response to a particular stress or threat, it's sensible to choose a subject to write (or speak) about that is of real personal importance but that is different from the area that's being threatened. Happily several other writing research studies suggest additional ways of making this type of exercise even more helpful. So a standard set of self-affirmation instructions might well involve asking participants to choose a particularly important personal value (for example, kindness,
Writing (or speaking) about our values or areas of our lives that are of particular personal importance can help us feel less threatened by stresses and more able to see situations clearly. There are many research studies demonstrating this. For example writing about personal values has been shown to reduce both subjectively experienced psychological stress and the body's adrenaline response to taking an academic exam (Sherman, Bunyan et al. 2009). This easing in sense of threat tends to boost the exam results people achieve, especially for those who tend to get more stressed (Cohen, Garcia et al.
"If you want others to be happy, practise compassion. If you want to be happy, practise compassion" Dalai Lama