Health tip, writing is good for you

My number one New Year’s resolution? Write every day.

“Good for you,” you’re thinking, but that’s not for me. You write for a living.

Yes, but I’m talking here about “expressive writing.”

Recently, I stumbled on a wonderful motivation for everyone to write. Writing is good for you. Sharon Lippincott, author of “Writing for the Health of It,” explains that expressive writing benefits us both physically and emotionally. Physical health benefits include “lowered blood pressure, increased immune and cardio-vascular function or relief of symptoms like asthma or arthritis pain. Emotional health benefits [are] relief from depression or an enhanced sense of satisfaction and happiness.”

What does Lippincott mean by “expressive” writing? Whether its writing in a journal, letters to a friend, writing down your difficulties or dreams, or making a record of your life (such as an autobiography or memoir), research proves the activity is therapeutic to mind, body and spirit.

Write every day, and you’ll begin to have a record of your personal history. As time passes, you’ll be able to look back and remember how you thought and felt, and gain a better understanding of how you’ve grown.

Write every day, and you’ll become more honest with yourself, thus better equipped to confront your feelings and address issues as they arise.

Write every day to get a much needed break from routine. By stepping away from daily duties to record your thoughts, you’ll begin to consider your own role in events and discover you have more control over your actions. Mark Banschick, author of “The Intelligent Divorce,” says in a “Psychology Today” column (Oct. 5 2013) that writing every day helps you “consider moving from being a character in your life journey to the role of author.”

Write every day because it will help you sleep better, especially if you write just before you go to sleep, since writing has a way of calming our thoughts.

Still don’t want to write? Afraid your sentences won’t be pretty enough? Go easy on yourself. Just try it for ten minutes or so. Think of it as writing practice—it’s not carved in stone.

According to David Tabatsky, author of “Write for Life,” expressive writing can be inspiring, redemptive, and healing. Some even claim writing is better than therapy. (And cheaper, too.)

Islander Claire Gebben is the author of a new book to be released next month, “The Last of the Blacksmiths,” published by Coffeetown Press.  $16.95.

It is available for pre-order or find it in February at Island Books.


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