Some research findings from Opening Up, The Healing Power of Confiding in Others by James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D.
The essential message of the book:
If we open up to others by
•talking. •writing •praying
about our thoughts, feelings and emotions and how they may be linked:
•we lower our stress - helps us to be healthier
•we can think better - more creatively, clearly, and concisely (high level thinking)
•we can learn more - we are more open minded and less defensive
The main discoveries of this project indicate that actively holding back or inhibiting our thoughts and feelings can be hard work. Over time, the work of inhibition gradually undermines the body's defenses. Like other stressors, inhibition can affect immune function, the action of the heart and vascular systems, and even the biochemical workings of the brain and nervous systems.
In short, excessive holding back of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can place people at risk for both major and minor diseases. Confronting our deepest thoughts and feelings can have remarkable short- and long-term health benefits. Writing or talking about upsetting things can influence our basic values, our daily thinking patterns, and our feelings about ourselves. Not disclosing our thoughts and feelings can be unhealthy. Divulging them can be healthy. Ken Wilber has described the steps we need to take in doing our personal and spiritual development. I have added "Opening Up" based on my own personal experiences and the research like the one described above by Pennebaker. In other parts of this website you will see each of these steps described.
1. Waking Up
2. Growing Up
4. Clearing Up
3. Opening Up
6. Showing Up
5. Cleaning up