Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Expressive Writing May Provide Health Benefits

Nancy Morgan, a "writing clinician," approached cancer patients waiting at a DC clinic and asked them to write down their feelings on their illness in a 20-minute exercise which posed questions about how their disease changed them and how they felt about these changes.

When contacted a few weeks later, 49% of them said their feelings about their disease had changed. They also reported a better quality of life to their physicians following the exercise.

While there is no clinical data to support the idea that such writing exercises benefit the patients' actual health, it seems pretty obvious that expressively facing their lot in life improved their outlooks and moods. And one's emotional health definitely has an effect on one's physical condition.

I have often said that writing can be beneficial to one's health and overall emotional state of well-being. In fact, blogging/journaling has helped me personally work through any number of issues and I can say absolutely that my life, health, position, and outlook would have been far worse without it. In this sense, it is a lot like individual psycho-therapy - psychiatric care without the doctor; you face not only the issues but how they make you feel, how you're reacting to and handling these feelings, and all the rest of what psychiatric therapy tends to focus on. Further, it eliminates any hesitancy on the writer's part to share information with someone else.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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