Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write
There are “long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms. In a 2005 study on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference. By writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events, participants were significantly more likely to have fewer illnesses and be less affected by trauma. Participants ultimately spent less time in the hospital, enjoyed lower blood pressure and had better liver functionality than their counterparts. ” (Art.Mic)
Well, that explains the low blood pressure. Yep. The writing did it. I might consider easing up on the writing considering how low my blood pressure is. Apparently the brain need oxygen or something. However, this is more what you are writing about. Traumatic, stressful or emotional events. I do write about these things on my health blog all the time… so yay me.
“Even those who suffer from specific diseases can improve their health through writing. Studies have shown that people with asthma who write have fewer attacks than those who don’t; AIDS patients who write have higher T-cell counts. Cancer patients who write have more optimistic perspectives and improved quality of life.” (Art.Mic)
This doesn’t surprise me. On my health blog I write about fibromaylgia and chronic migraines. The writing about it in-itself helps me cope with the conditions. I believe fundamentally because keeping all that inside is stressful. Talking about it or writing about it is quite healthy. It is a way of decreasing stress.
James W. Pennebaker has been conducting research on writing to heal for years at the University of Texas at Austin. “When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health,” Pennebaker writes. “They go to the doctor less. They have changes in immune function.”
Why? Pennebaker believes this act of expressive writing allows people to take a step back and evaluate their lives. Instead of obsessing unhealthily over an event, they can focus on moving forward. By doing so, stress levels go down and health correspondingly goes up.
You don’t have to be a serious novelist or constantly reflecting on your life’s most traumatic moments to get these great benefits. Even blogging or journaling is enough to see results. One study found that blogging might trigger dopamine release, similar to the effect from running or listening to music. (Art.Mic)
Good to know I am getting a dopamine boost from all this blogging!
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