Putting pen to paper can have a great impact on improving physical health according to research. Writing not only can help with emotional stress but may also boost the immune system.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA):
Research suggests expressive writing may also offer physical benefits to people battling terminal or life-threatening diseases. Studies by those in the forefront of this research–psychologists James Pennebaker, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin, and Joshua Smyth, PhD, of Syracuse University–suggest that writing about emotions and stress can boost immune functioning in patients with such illnesses as HIV/AIDS, asthma and arthritis.
Researchers are only beginning to get at how and why writing may benefit the immune system, and why some people appear to benefit more than others. There is emerging agreement, however, that the key to writing’s effectiveness is in the way people use it to interpret their experiences, right down to the words they choose. Venting emotions alone–whether through writing or talking–is not enough to relieve stress, and thereby improve health, Smyth emphasizes. To tap writing’s healing power, people must use it to better understand and learn from their emotions, he says.
“…Writing helped patients get better, and also kept them from getting worse,” said Smyth about his research.
Journaling can begin unlocking emotional stress that could be impacting your physical health.
Starting each day by writing down what you want to accomplish and your gratitude for small things in your life can be the beginning of improving your physical health.
Throughout the day, journal your emotions – highs and lows. At night, recount the day and better understand your emotions and what you can begin to improve on.
Try journaling your emotions today to learn more about yourself!