Expressive Writing

we want you to select one stressful life circumstance, event, or situation that is either currently affecting you or has recently affected you. You can write about anything you want.

Your assignment is to write about this stressor. Writing about stress can help you manage stress. Studies show that writing brings psychological, physical, and emotional benefits. It also leads to effective problem solving and reduces unhealthy and unproductive thoughts. Conversely, not writing about stress can make life even more stressful.

First, describe what is happening. What are your deepest thoughts and feelings about this challenge that has been affecting your life? Write about something that is personal and important to you. This should be something that you can handle writing aboutif it is too overwhelming, consider an alternative. You are exploring both the objective experience (i.e. what happened or is happening) and your feelings about it.

Some things to reflect on: Why is this stressor stressful? What about it has made it especially stressful for you? What have been some of the cognitive, physical, emotional or behavioral effects of this stressor?

Consider also the building blocks of psychological stressors (Zebras, pp. 255-263). These include control and controllability, predictability, a perception of things worsening, outlets for frustration or other factors influencing your response to the stressor. Feel free to incorporate other concepts as well based on your own personal experience or class material.

Slightly more or slightly less is fine. This is open book and open notes. Please double-space and used a 12-point font. Citations and references are not necessary. This is a reflective exercise, not a formal paper.

Evaluation will be based primarily on responsiveness to the assignment, your communication of ideas, incorporation of ideas or concepts from class, organization of the essay, and mechanics. What you write (content) is more important than how you write (structure).

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