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    A lifelong wish
      A secret crush
        A dastardly deed
          That thing that makes your stomach knot up and you do not know whether to throw up or cry...

Release it now, it will heal you.

Psychologists have, for a long time, recommended the practice of journalling to release tension and make sense of the problems that we face. The Everything day logs and random nodes of non-fiction and abstractions serve as an outlet to the users' dreams and thoughts, hopes and fears, questions and ponderings.

If not Everything, then where?

Anywhere! You can write it down in a notebook and hide it. You can email it to a friend that realizes you are messed up and likes you anyway. There are lonely priests out there that are dying to hear all the sins you have committed so you can go home with absolution, at least in your mind. You can pray to whatever deity you deem worthy. There are 800 numbers for all sorts of issues - find them! Create a work of art or a song so abstract that only you know the real meaning behind it. And if it is something so horrible that not even your dog can hear it, at least write it down, let yourself be slapped in the face by the utter reality of it, then rip it up and throw it away. It is amazing how wonderful it feels to get it off your chest.

Confession is good for the soul...

I know! But why is it so hard?

Research on confession has shown that it is psychologically beneficial. Divulging private thoughts and feelings that make you ashamed or depressed is a good way to let them go. An example of how confession can help is when new college students wrote about their anxieties verses the students who wrote about trivial topics. The students who confessed their uneasy feelings reported greater short term home sickness and anxiety but by the end of the school year these students had had fewer bouts of flu and fewer visits to the infirmary than those who did not discuss their issues.

People who are carrying the burden of painful secrets also find confession beneficial. College students who wrote about deep personal pains and traumatic experiences had temporary increases in anger and depression but over time their health and well being improved.

If the confessions are made to a confidant who is judgmental, unable to help, or betrays the confessing persons confidence, however, the confession of course will make the confessor feel worse instead of better. A confession’s benefits occur only when it produces insight and understanding about the source or significance of the problem. This is what ends the stressful repetition of obsessive thoughts and unresolved feelings.


Sources:
Psychology Seventh Edition by Carole Wade and Carol Tavris
The World of Psychology Fourth Edition by Samuel E. Wood and Ellen R. Green Wood

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