Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Writing for your health

I write because I like to, because it's fun for me. But did you know that it's good for you? Seriously. Turns out that journaling, or writing down your thoughts and feelings, actually has a multitude of health benefits.

Writing about the stresses of your day, the problems in your life, and figuring it all out on on paper is supposed to not only increase your cognitive function but strengthen your immune system and help you handle stress better. The only caveat is that you can't just write and write about how awful your life is and end it there - not that you would. Jeez, how depressing. You need to come up with a plan to make it better, or at least work through your feelings.

And for heaven's sake, please don't decide to write an angry letter to your boss or your mother-in-law, have a few drinks, and then mail it in a flurry of drunken rightousness. (Although, note to self: That could be a funny short story . . .)

I have a friend - and I swear this is a true story - who used to deal with her anger and stress by going out for a drive. Can you imagine?? In the ranking of bad choices, how high is that??? After a few near-misses on the highway, I think she began to realize the error of her ways. Journaling is at least a healthy, safe outlet for our feelings.

So will you be instantly happier once you start journaling? Maybe. Maybe not. But hey, I say it's like chicken soup when you have a cold: It can't hurt.

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