The Mighty Therapist called ‘the pen’

     I belong to that antiquated group who still reads a physical copy of the printed newspaper, and the other day I came across an article that gave me so much hope, I knew I would blog about it. The study discussed in the article was written up by two researchers from The University of Chicago.

     The title of the article? “Writing task helps reduce test anxiety.” My initial reaction was: “Well, duh!” That is so rude, but blogs are supposed to be honest, or what’s the point. 

     The study concluded that students who were given a simple writing exercise for 10 minutes before they took a test, reduced their anxiety about taking the test giving them a chance to perform better and possibly earn a higher score. The writing allowed the students to write about their feelings and thoughts before the test thus freeing their brainpower to be better used when it was time to focus on the test itself. 

     The article pointed out that “test anxiety is fairly common in classrooms, especially in the United States because of its increasingly test-obsessed culture . . .” thus creating the chain of anxiety that causes poorer grades and lower scores on standardized tests and college entrance exams, that then could condemn talented students to inferior colleges . . . yadda yadda yadda . . . 

     This idea about taking time to empty your brain on paper before taking on a task is not a new concept, but I admit I am grateful that the journal called Science was willing to share forth the findings of these researchers. 

     Julia Cameron’s exceptional book, The Artist’s Way, is but one of a ton of great resources that espouses the value of clearing the gray cells in our head of excess clutter so that we make a cleaner path for focusing on writing, painting, or leading some major corporation into more fruitful ways of making money. It doesn’t matter which poison you choose, writing can be a helpful tool toward a higher quality of life, achievement and results, and I love the fact that someone out there is trying to help young people see and recognize it sooner.

     I’ve written myself through the loss of family and friends and pets. I’ve penned a resolution for myself out of a dead-end employment situation. I draft to myself frequently to get around this nutso world we live in, much preferring the use of words and the writing process itself as compared to the bullets that far too many nut jobs resort to. 

     Writing has been helping me clear the brain path for a long time, and I was positively ecstatic to read an actual printed article that offered the idea to more of the world.

     Isn’t your improved welfare worth maybe 15 minutes of pen-time now and then?

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8 thoughts on “The Mighty Therapist called ‘the pen’

  1. Only last Monday I was citing this very study in an inservice as a suggestion for enhancing performance on the state test. Instead of dwelling on the negative feelings and holding them in, students get them out of their minds and then can focus better on the task at hand. Makes perfect sense to me 🙂
    Currently reading a Buddist book about the language of love, another book called The Element and just finished an off-the-rack Port Mortuary by P. Cornwall on my nook and then there’s the Hunger Games in one class and King Arthur stories in another and prepping for Farenheit 451.

    A chocolate a day… isn’t that how the saying goes? Savor the books!

  2. Yep! Thank goodness for journalilng. It sure helps me keep sane – as much as can be! Ha!

    Also – I await the day I am 90 yrs old and see what I wrote at my age now and how I viewed people in that age bracket of 90+.

    …..Uh – I can wait, tho. Heh, heh.

  3. Just last night I used the “therapy pen” to unleash some anger that I am unable to unleash on the person I am angry with. It was so funny to me in reflection, as I went back and re-edited time and again until I realized the letter was more problem than the problem I was angry about. LOL

    Good choice of topic Rebecca, and great job.

  4. Hi Becky,

    Another reason to continue journaling. Not news to us, but glad the scientists validate that which we know!

    Bonnie

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