I’m a big fan of journaling. I’ve personally experienced the way it helps process feelings and relieve stress that can stifle my progress. As it turns out, writing is an excellent way to stave off anxiety. That’s what a psychology graduate student at Harvard discovered.

Hans Schroder and his colleagues studied a group of women who were asked to use expressive writing to reduce anxiety. They focused on women because prior studies showed that women experience an exaggerated negative physiological response to worry. The women were asked to write about their worries, or whatever came to mind, without concern for grammar or spelling.

Using an EEG, the researchers monitored the women’s brain waves. They found that expressive writing about their concerns reduced negative brain activity. This, researchers believe, allowed participants to offload worrisome thoughts and focus more easily on other activities.