What Writing Can Do for Our Health: ‘The Power of Writing’, an Interactive Guest Lecture From Prof. Silke Heimes

In the second writing exercise, we were asked to write for five minutes about what we wanted to do next week. We were then asked to choose one of these activities – in a snap decision, without thinking about it – with Heimes’ recommendation being to do only this activity the following week. If I had engaged my intellect, I might have opted for something rather more rational. I didn’t, however, so the exercise ended for me with the task of “feeling the wind”. Well, that certainly sounded like more fun than completing my tax return, but I was a little puzzled. Where exactly had that thought come from? Perhaps, as one of my fellow participants suggested, it might have come from my subconscious, which struggles with the restrictions I place on its freedom.

At the end of the lecture, one student asked: “Why isn’t it more common for people to write down their thoughts if the results are so positive?” Prof. Heimes said that was a good question, and that she didn’t actually have a clear-cut answer. Perhaps, she said, because it was too easy. In any case, ideas and impetus certainly help us to write, so Prof. Heimes gave us exercises for a week of autobiographical writing – and that’s where we’ll start.

Participants of the Power of Writing Guest Lecture

Sources:
Pennebaker J. W., Colder M., Sharp L. K. (1990): Accelerating the coping process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 58(3): 528-537.
Ziegler, Juliane: Einem Buch das Leben erzählen. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 4/15/2016. (Last accessed: 4/19/2021)

About Prof. Dr. Gabriella Maráz 34 Articles
Gabriella Maráz is Professor for Intercultural Management and Research Methodology and focuses on information and communication psychology and work techniques.