How to quickly and easily reduce heartache:
Stick stuff in a box. No, I’m not kidding:
This research investigates whether the physical act of enclosing an emotionally laden stimulus can help alleviate the associated negative emotions. Four experiments found support for this claim. Using recalled negative experiences such as regretted past-decisions and unsatisfied strong desires, we showed in Experiments 1A and 1B that emotional negativity was reduced for participants who placed a written recollection of such experiences inside an envelope. However, enclosing a stimulus unrelated to the emotional experience did not have the same effect (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, we showed that the effect were not driven by participants simply doing something extra with the materials, and that the effect of physical enclosure was mediated by the psychological closure that participants felt towards the event.
Source: “Sealing the Emotions Genie: The Effects of Physical Enclosure on Psychological Closure”, soon to be published in Psychological Science
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