A review of the benefits of writing as a personal project and as a therapeutic activity. Writing as a personal project can improve your health.
We should all have a child, plant a tree and write a book… Today I am going to talk to you about the most direct benefits of writing as a personal, recreational or professional project, but also as a therapeutic activity.
It turns out that clinical studies by specialists in psychology, neurology, psychiatry, and therapeutics of diseases such as cancer have recently emerged, which have yielded impressive data related to writing. Let’s see:
Years ago, a direct relationship had been found between writing and the incidence of cases of mental illness, especially those related to old age. The percentage of incidence of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or senile dementia is drastically lower among people who write particularly in those who, for example, use to keep a personal diary or have had professional activities that involve the writing of reports, journalistic articles or academic during periods prolonged life. Apparently, memory works in a similar way to muscles (and vice versa): keeping a diary forces us to retrieve data and events of the day. It is not that we need this data throughout our lives at all times, but the exercise of remembering daily what we have experienced in the last hours is a magnificent exercise for our mind, which will appreciate it when it must show all its preparation in our advanced age.
Against more serious diseases
In 2008, an investigation of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management ( Journal of pain and symptom management ) reported that a group of cancer patients who spent at least 20 minutes once a week (for three) writing a story about how cancer affected them, they experienced the least pain and reported the highest levels of well-being.
For his part, Dr. James Pennebaker, head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, says that “it seems that the imposition of some kind of structure in writing and the construction of a new narrative – as opposed to a rehash of the same old stories and feelings over and over again – it offers insight into distance from life events that helps us figure out what those events mean and how to handle them differently.
Some therapists help seriously ill patients by having them work for two months on various small projects and retrieve their work in a portfolio. Participants write about a book that changed their life or write letters to themselves as if they were a child.
The satisfaction of a personal project
In addition to the amazing health benefits that have been discovered in recent days, writing can also become a personal project that will give you the opportunity to dream, plan and push yourself with perseverance and patience until you see it completed.
We all have something to say, a story to tell
We all have life experiences that we want to share with others. It is also valid to recover the events that we have lived or witnessed and reinvent them so that they have a different ending to the one they had in reality.
It is not necessary that you publish everything you write, or do only texts worthy of a favorable opinion in a publishing house. And if you plan to publish your writing, you do not need to spend large amounts of money to print and distribute – although that possibility should not be completely ruled out.
You can use traditional notebooks that you keep to yourself. Or you can open a blog
(an electronic blog on the internet) and write in it: the best thing is that you decide how and when to share what you write.
Get into the habit of writing
Like reading, to acquire the habit of writing it is necessary to have discipline. The hardest part will always be the initial one, but as the days go by without fail, you will see that it is not only necessary for you to write daily, but also pleasant. I leave you these tips:
Don’t let a day go by without writing.
Write for at least 20 minutes in a day.
Write about a major conflict or stress in your life, something personal and important.
Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. At least not at first.
Spend time reading narrative literature (novels, short stories, etc.).
If you are ready to improve your health and complete a great project, happy writing!