King continued her exploration of writing about self-regulatory topics with a 2001 study comparing the health benefits of writing about trauma with writing about life goals. Her findings: Results indicate that writing about life goals is another way to enjoy the health benefits of writing without the emotional costs. Indeed, writing about one’s life goals was associated with feeling less upset, more happy, and getting sick less often. . . . [T]he physical benefits . . . were equal to or better than writing about trauma, whereas writing about a traumatic life event also entailed feeling upset and experiencing lowered mood. . . . It may be possible to enjoy the benefits of writing without necessarily writing about trauma at all (805).
From “Your Brain on Ink”