Monday, June 20, 2016

A Story Needs Lots of Positive-Emotion Words and a Moderate Number of Negative-Emotion Words

"Individuals who used a moderate number of negative emotions in their writing about upsetting topics evidenced the greatest drops in physician visits in the months after writing.

That is, those people who used a very high rate of negative-emotion words and those who used very few were the most likely to have continuing health problems after participating in the study.

...those people who tended to use many words in the positive category and a moderate amount in the negative category had the greatest health improvements...

Individuals who tend to use very few negative-emotion words are undoubtedly most likely to be characterized as repressive copers - people defined as poor at being able to identify and label their emotional states.

Those who overuse negative-emotion words may well be the classic high neurotic or, high Negative-Affect individuals. These individuals are people who ponder their negative emotions in exhaustive detail and who may simply be in a recursive loop of complaining without attaining closure. Indeed, this may be exacerbated by the inability of these individuals to develop a story or narrative.

A high rate of positive-emotion word use coupled with some negative-emotion words suggests there is an acknowledgment of problems with a concomitant sense of optimism."

Pennebaker & Seagal, 1999

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