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Pennebaker Notes Paper

The human language is not only a way to communicate, but a way to heal ourselves from the inside out. Dr. Pennebaker explains the ways that words are mirrors as well as tools into one’s mind in his essay through his extensive word and writing studies. As a social psychologist, he studies the health benefits of writing one’s secrets or problems on paper instead of keeping them to one’s self.

Pennebaker performed all-encompassing research about the connotations of commonly used words in a large computer program called Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC); after completing LIWC, he could analyze any text to find the emotion and feeling within the writing. He found that those who wrote in specific manners, for example using more positively charged words versus negatively charged words, were healthier. As his studies progressed in multiple colleges, he saw a gradual change in emotional and physical health in the test-subjects.

According to Pennebaker, ’emotional writing boosted immune health, brought drops in blood pressure, and reduced feelings of depression and elevated daily moods’ (25). Pennebaker came to the conclusion that physically writing feelings and secrets on paper is key to being emotionally and physically healthy; he supports his claim with years of research done in many different places, in effort to reach his broad audience of people whom can write.

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He sees writing as a mirror into one’s conscious as well as a tool to become healthier and improve one’s life. Words can heal as well as teach because of their complex connotations and the situations in which we use one word over the another. Works Cited Pennebaker, James. “Discovering the Secret Life of the Most Forgettable Words. ” The Ends of Civility. University of North Flordia, 2013.

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