Brain: You’re a horrible, worthless, garbage person, and your life is going nowhere but to hell.

Me: I don’t know what the fuck you expect me to do about that at 11PM, my dude.


For worriers, expressive writing cools brain on stressful tasks

Chronic worriers, take note: Simply writing about your
feelings may help you perform an upcoming stressful task more
efficiently, finds a Michigan State University study that measured
participants’ brain activity.

The research, funded by the National Science Foundation and National
Institutes of Health, provides the first neural evidence for the
benefits of expressive writing, said lead author Hans Schroder, an MSU
doctoral student in psychology and a clinical intern at Harvard Medical
School’s McLean Hospital.

“Worrying takes up cognitive resources; it’s kind of like people who
struggle with worry are constantly multitasking – they are doing one
task and trying to monitor and suppress their worries at the same time,”
Schroder said. “Our findings show that if you get these worries out of
your head through expressive writing, those cognitive resources are
freed up to work toward the task you’re completing and you become more

Schroder conducted the study at Michigan State with Jason Moser, associate professor of psychology and director of MSU’s Clinical Psychophysiology Lab,
and Tim Moran, a Spartan graduate who’s now a research scientist at
Emory University. The findings are published online in the journal

For the study, college students identified as chronically anxious
through a validated screening measure completed a computer-based
“flanker task” that measured their response accuracy and reaction times.
Before the task, about half of the participants wrote about their
deepest thoughts and feelings about the upcoming task for eight minutes;
the other half, in the control condition, wrote about what they did the
day before.

While the two groups performed at about the same level for speed and
accuracy, the expressive-writing group performed the flanker task more
efficiently, meaning they used fewer brain resources, measured with
electroencephalography, or EEG, in the process.

Moser uses a car analogy to describe the effect. “Here, worried
college students who wrote about their worries were able to offload
these worries and run more like a brand new Prius,” he said, “whereas
the worried students who didn’t offload their worries ran more like a
’74 Impala – guzzling more brain gas to achieve the same outcomes on the

While much previous research has shown that expressive writing can
help individuals process past traumas or stressful events, the current
study suggests the same technique can help people – especially worriers –
prepare for stressful tasks in the future.

“Expressive writing makes the mind work less hard on upcoming
stressful tasks, which is what worriers often get “burned out” over,
their worried minds working harder and hotter,” Moser said. “This
technique takes the edge off their brains so they can perform the task
with a ‘cooler head.’”




me: hey how long is this thing going to last

someone: haha you just want to know when you’re off the hook

me: hah

me: (actually i just need to allocate the right expectations and backlog of energy and make sure the rest of my day falls in good accordance with it so that i don’t feel time-crunched and propel myself into a hysteria because if i don’t know how long this thing lasts or when it ends i can’t possibly know when literally anything else starts and my entire life becomes an unraveled realm of anarchy with no rhyme or reason and how is that not terrifying to you)

me: hey how long will this take

someone: oh like twenty minutes

me: ok

*an hour later*

me: *clinging to every learned social skill i can think of with the desperate hope my distress and exhaustion doesn’t show*

someone: hey we’re almost done don’t be so crabby

me: *smiling* *internally screaming at this SENSELESS CHAOS*

someone: hey do you want to do [involving time-consuming thing]

me: hey that sounds fun! when were you thinking?

someone: oh we’re doing it right now

me: oh. like. now-now? like right now. like you want me to stop what i’m doing and get up and do this thing with you, suddenly, with thirty seconds of warning. now. like this second. immediately. now?







Gentle reminder that the human eye is naturally drawn by noise and movement, so the next time you walk into a crowd or a bit late into a lecture or something like that, they’re not staring at you or judging; it’s just an instinctive reaction that has nothing to do with you doing anything wrong.

This really helps my anxiety.


It’s literally a threat assessment/food gathering instinct. The steps your brain is doing, subconsciously. 

-Check to see if movement is lion in grass.

-Also check to see if possible game animal and edible. 

-No it’s just Dave getting into lecture hall a few minutes late. 

-That’s boring. 

-Lose interest. 

Well, now I’m worried that when I walk in late, I’ll be considered prey.

Or predator. 😆