Combatting Rumination Series: Expressive Writing

rumination writing Aug 19, 2023

Expressive writing is a tool we can use to help process our thoughts and feelings related to stressful or confusing experiences. It can also be used to help us overcome rumination about a particular topic. The key to positive results is to be open and honest with ourselves.

Expressive writing has been proven to improve mental and physical health. The act of simply labeling a feeling– putting words to an emotion– can be extremely beneficial. By translating our experiences into language, it allows us to organize our thoughts. By writing down our thoughts, we create a story that gives us a sense of control. A sense of control increases our acceptance, and acceptance is calming.



  1. Gather a pen and a piece of paper.
  2. Find a quiet place to write uninterrupted.
  3. Set a timer for the amount of time you wish to write. 10-20 minutes is suggested.
  4. Center yourself. Take 3 deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, before you begin writing.
  5. Write about your stressful experience. What happened, how did it make you feel, etc. As you write, just write what comes to you naturally.
  6. If you get stuck, stop and take a deep breath. Begin writing again.
  7. When your timer ends, notice what you have written and how you feel after putting your thoughts to paper.
  8. Try writing again for the next 2 days, if possible.
  9. After the 3rd day of writing, reassess how you feel about the experience and any next steps you might wish to take.