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Writing about your emotions helps healing

From yesterday’s Boston Globe:

WHILE POLICY WONKS debate how to deliver high-quality healthcare without skyrocketing costs, here’s one opportunity for some cheap, evidence-based medicine. In a recent study, 36 men were asked to write for 20 minutes on three consecutive days. Half the men had to write about their deepest emotions related to a traumatic experience, and the other half had to write about time management. Several weeks later, all the men were given a standard skin biopsy wound. After another couple weeks, the men who had written about the traumatic experience were healing significantly better. It’s believed that writing about a traumatic experience has a latent emotional impact that benefits the immune system.

Weinman, J. et al., “Enhanced Wound Healing after Emotional Disclosure Intervention,” British Journal of Health Psychology (February 2008).

Hmmm….maybe that’s one reason why morning pages are so good for you…?

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. cathy #

    wasn’t there a recent post about emotional writing? more backing here…

    i believe that the one time in my life that i was most consistent in my morning pages got me thru a traumatic time and onto a better path for myself. i was able to use the pages as a private dialogue to work out the areas that needed working out.

    December 8, 2008
  2. cathy #

    wasn’t there a recent post about emotional writing? more backing here…

    i believe that the one time in my life i was most consistent in my morning pages got me thru a traumatic time and onto a better path for myself. i was able to use the pages as a private dialogue to work out the areas that needed working out.

    December 8, 2008
  3. cathy #

    hmm..how did that happen? ^

    December 8, 2008
  4. I’ve always said music and writing were cheaper than docs, and I am one.

    I write a physician bluegrass fiction weblog. Come visit.

    drtombibey.wordpress.com

    December 8, 2008
  5. Liz #

    I believe this whole-heartedly, and I will raise the stakes and say “Do not keep secrets,” too. Sure, write it out in your journal, but talk it out to. No matter how black the trauma, talk about it. Write about it. Sing about it. Read a poem about it. Tell people who you are, so that secrets have nowhere to hide.

    Stress, trauma, sadness etc. grows and becomes its own monster if you keep it inside. Much like mold, it loves wet dark places. Purge it until it is nothing more than something that happened to you – like when you fell on your bike for the first time. It will become just another story. I know that might sound very hopeful, especially to people who have been through horrendous sh*t, but it is true.

    Since I started being totally honest about myself, to myself and others, I have gotten down – but never out. It keeps me light and unafraid. I swear by it.

    December 8, 2008
  6. cathy #

    brava, liz! :

    Since I started being totally honest about myself, to myself and others, I have gotten down – but never out. It keeps me light and unafraid. I swear by it.

    December 8, 2008
  7. I agree that honesty is vital–but sometimes I need some space (on paper) to figure out how I feel, and vent without being hurtful. Having a place to “dump” emotionally can help me to be constructive with my loved ones, rather than one-sided. I think I can tell when honesty is being muted by too much filtering. (Actually, I know I can tell, because I erupt in a rather unpleasant way.) But sometimes getting the junk off my chest is all I need–especially when the writing process helps me realize that the issue is really my own.

    December 8, 2008
  8. i am a firm believer in this! i write “letters to a friend” where I just let everything out. this is a real friend, mind you, but i don’t often actually send the letters. she’s just the person i am talking to in my head when i’m writing it all down. i know that really helps me.

    December 8, 2008
  9. amy #

    This makes sense and it’s great to see “scientific” evidence that journaling is good for your health. 🙂

    December 8, 2008
  10. amy #

    This makes sense and it’s great to see “scientific” evidence that journaling is good for your health. 🙂

    December 8, 2008
  11. Kristine #

    I also agree. After writing about any experience in my life, especially a difficult one, I always feel lighter–literally. My brain is more open to deal with the problem or situation than when it was cluttered with my emotions.

    This article proves once again that writing is good for us on so many levels.

    December 8, 2008

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