Posts Tagged ‘writing and memory’

Blogging: The Newest Panacea for Good Health

July 6, 2008 Leave a comment


Geesh.  Blogs are now the new hip research project.  The hypothesis is that blogging is good for you. 


And this is a surprise?  Didn’t anyone read the same studies I read about 25 years ago  (cough, cough)? How writing encourages good health was the research topic.  Isn’t blogging considered writing?  So why wouldn’t you surmise that the results might be similar? 


The 25 year old article stressed how even the simple act of writing a list of things to do can greatly improve your well being.


Drawing up a checklist can relieve mental stress, it reported.  By looking at the tasks at a glance, you can tell how realistic your expectations are.  When half the list falls to the next day, it comes as no surprise.  You have become mentally prepared for the stress of  not completing everything you had hoped and therefore, alleviating some of the stress that accompanies leftover tasks.  As the tasks are accomplished, you tick them off,  and aside from getting stuff done, you also get a surge of serotonin, a chemical in your brain, which makes you appreciate what you accomplished.  You feel good.  You feel satisfied.


So what if you poured your feelings onto a page, spewed forth your anger, your frustrations and recognize your many gratitudes and why you feel so blessed?  Will it have a more noticeable, positive impact?  If I remember correctly, it does.  When you spill your guts onto a blank page, it is like opening a pressure cooker valve release. 


At Southern Methodist University and Ohio State University College of Medicine the scientists conducted clinical tests that show that writing contributes directly to your physical health too.  They noticed that their subjects who wrote thoughtfully about their traumatic experience showed increased T-cell production, drop in physician visits, fewer use of sick days, and overall improvement in physical health.


This makes sense, because say we accept the assumption that writing relieves stress.  If stress is relieved, then the immune system is not compromised.  Supposedly, stress and over eating can cause the immune system to slow, leaving the body vulnerable to greater opportunities for infection.  So it is safe to say writing is considered a stress coping mechanism.


Research also reveals that writing improves memory and sleep and speeds healing after surgery. 


All of this is not new.  People have been writing journals and diaries for eons, but what is different is that blogging has allowed the researchers greater access to the process and content.  Bloggers share their thoughts with the world.  And maybe that’s what is making a difference in this round of research studies.  Bloggers hide nothing. 


One article referred to blogging as self-medicating.  Interesting viewpoint…maybe this is up for further exploration in another entry?  Suddenly I’m feeling quite tired.  Did I over do it with the self medication with all this thinking and writing?  Until another day.