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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Does focusing on the positive help your brain get over a breakup?



My new post on Psychology Today discusses fMRI studies about how the brain reacts to pictures and thoughts of the ex-partner.

Psychology Today post

One research study investigated whether an expressive writing intervention could help people to feel better about it. In this study of almost 100 college students with a recent (past 3 months) breakup, participants were assigned to write about either only the positive aspects of the breakup, only the negative aspects, or about a superficial topic (control group).  Those in the positive-writing group reported experiencing more positive emotions when they thought about the breakup and had no increase in negative emotions. The positive emotions included empowerment, happiness, relief, thankfulness, and wisdom.  If the breakup was mutual, the benefits of positive writing were even stronger. Perhaps focusing on the positive can eventually reprogram the brain's reactions. More research using actual brain scans is needed to verify this. Also, since these participants were college students, we don't know if older people would experience the same effects.





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