According to studies, confronting past failings on paper helps calm anxiety in future.
A new study claims that writing about negative events and past failings is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and give a person a new lease of life.
Researchers found acknowledging and analyzing what went wrong during prior setbacks gives people insight which helps them cope better in future stressful situations.
While people are usually asked to look at the bright side when they fail and move on, the new study suggests thinking critically about these negative events can actually lead to better outcomes in the future.
The research, conducted at Rutgers University-Newark found that simply thinking about negative events could be used to help people manage stress better, and improve performance in many areas, including therapeutic settings, education and sports.
Previous studies have shown that paying close attention to negative events or feelings — by either meditating or writing about them — can actually lead to positive outcomes.
Speaking about it Brynne DiMenichi, doctoral candidate at Rutgers University-Newark said that acute stress harms performance and writing about stressful events - such as past failures- has been shown to improve cognitive functioning and performance, especially in tasks that require sustained attention.
However, she went on to add, “Yet there is little physiological evidence for whether writing about past failures or other negative events improves performance by reducing stress.”
The study saw researchers examine effect of writing about past failures on future task performance. During the course of the research, the stress hormone cortisol was measured in their saliva at the start of the study.
The volunteers then performed a new stressful task while their cortisol levels were continuously monitored.
Researchers found that those who wrote about their past failures had lower cortisol levels compared to the control group when performing the new challenge.
The study also revealed that those who wrote about a past failure made more careful choices while performing the new stressful task, and overall performed better than the control group.