First, an announcement: I recently started a new blog…over at kimfosterwrites.com. And the main reason for that: I have a book deal!
For a long time I’ve been a closet novelist. I’m talking years of scribbling away and inhabiting the imaginary worlds of my brain. At long last, just this past July, my agent landed me a 3-book deal with Kensington Books in New York, and my first novel is due out in May 2013.
But this all leads me to my topic today, which is: the health benefits of writing.
It’s a niche research topic, to be sure, but studies have shown that creative and expressive writing can be a therapeutic exercise. Writing helps reduce anxiety, provides an emotional outlet, and can guide people through traumatic life events such as bereavement and coping with serious illness.
But there’s more to writing than stress reduction and emotional support. Turns out there’s physiologic benefit too.
Here’s what some of the research has shown. Regular writing can:
- sharpen your memory
- improve your sleep
- boost immune cell activity
- speed healing after surgery
- improve well-being (mental and physical) in cancer patients
Studies have shown benefit from all manner of writing styles: expressive writing, journalling, formal writing therapy, poetry, and even blogging (which is, in its purest sense, a form of expressive writing).
One of my fave bloggers (and my editor at Yummy Mummy Club, as it happens…), the super-clever Ali Martell, calls her blog Cheaper Than Therapy. And she is oh-so-right.
The therapeutic value of writing is certainly something writers have long known. I know I’m not the only writer who reports feeling a tad grouchy if I don’t get my regular writing time. And, as long as you don’t go all Hemingway and drink yourself into a self-destructive spiral, there is health benefit to be had. (Also, as long as you stand up and walk away from the computer from time to time, yes?)
So how about you? Do you write? Is it therapeutic for you? Are you a healthier, happier person for it?