Write For Your Life

Feeling low, anxious, or simply out of sorts? Write about it. Getting stressors onto paper not only clears your mind, but can also lead to better health.

In an article published in Harvard Medical School’s health journal, Celeste Robb-Nicholson, M.D. states that there is scientific evidence for physical benefits of “expressive” writing about stressful or traumatic life events. One study conducted at the University of Texas, Austin, found that students who wrote about their stressors and traumas took fewer pain relievers and visited the health center less frequently than those who wrote about trivial subjects or not at all. Similar studies have recorded physical improvement in conditions such as sleep apnea, asthma, migraines, HIV, and cancer.

Expressive writing has also been found to lower stress and anxiety. A University of Chicago study found anxious test-takers received better grades on an important exam when they wrote about their feelings before the test, compared to their peers who did not write beforehand.

Writing, ideally for a specified time each day, is an easy, low-cost technique to ease stress and improve health.  To find the time and motivation to write daily, consider these tips from author and writing coach Sam Horn:

·      Create a personal ritual. Sit down to write for a few minutes each day, at the same place each time, and it will eventually become a habit.

·      Select a journal that feels right in your hands and that you enjoy handwriting in. If you don’t already have one, go to your local bookstore or online and find one that appeals to you.

·      If you don’t know where to begin, search the internet for lists of creative writing prompts, or begin asking yourself engaging questions; e.g. What was something good that happened yesterday? What am I afraid of? What do I really want to say?

·      Write whatever comes to mind. Let your thoughts flow onto the paper. The faster your pen moves the truer your thoughts tend to be, because you are not censoring them.

Write out your thoughts daily while they are fresh and top of mind, and you’ll soon find yourself looking forward to this physically, mentally and spiritually nourishing ritual.

© Clear Simple SOULutions LLC 2017