“Someday is Not a Day of the Week.”

April 18, 2015 at 10:25 am 2 comments

Someday is Not a Day of the Week”  Denise Brennan-Nelson   

Today I woke up before the sun rose. Drawn to my computer like a magnet,  I embraced the blank page with which to write upon. My blog reminds me of my diary from my childhood. Just a few subtle differences spanning the 40 plus years since then. Today’s journal does not have a flower power fabric cover. No lock and key. No scribbling or doodling inside. No writing my first name with the last name of my boy-crushes (since marriage entered my mind as early as 6th grade.) But one thing that has remained constant since that generation gap of the young me and the present young-at-heart me, is the desire to express myself, “let my (short) hair down” so to speak,  and journal. Today my blog serves as the platform of self-expression. Admittedly my writing (and life) is more of an “open-book” these days.  My willingness to share, my courage to divulge, desire to entertain and goal to motivate and move my readers in some small (or big) way is the common denominator. FYI,  I also have a private journal for my eyes only that helps me to reconcile times of challenge and struggle and allows me to voice my true thoughts and concerns to a non-judgmental source ~ again the “blank page.” It’s a wonderful opportunity to list my appreciations, Gratitude Journal and entertain my goals and dreams. Journaling should be whatever you want it to be. As far as I’m concerned, there is no write or wrong way to journal. It’s always write. And the benefits are note worthy! 

Benefits to Children I highly recommend journaling, especially for children. Children tend to keep their emotions bottled up. Journaling helps them to avoid imploding (unhealthy to self) or exploding (threatening to others.) It’s a release that works wonders beyond words. The act of journaling has health benefits for all on both a physical and emotional level. Did you know that writing can be used to heal? By helping people manage and learn from negative experiences, writing strengthens their immune systems as well as their minds.    

Write for the Health of It  Writing is no stranger to therapy. For years, practitioners have used logs, questionnaires, journals and other writing forms to help people heal from stresses and traumas. Now, new 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. Skeptics argue that other factors, such as changes in social support, or simply time, could instead be the real health aids. But an intensive research review by Smyth, published in 1998 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Vol. 66, No. 1), suggests that writing does make a difference. 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. In all likelihood, the enlightenment that can occur through such writing compares with the benefits of verbal guided exploration in psychodynamic psychotherapies, notes Pennebaker. He notes, for example, that talking into a tape recorder has also shown positive health effects. The curative mechanism appears to be relief of the stress that exacerbates disease, researchers believe.  

Physical Health Benefits A groundbreaking study of writing’s physical effects appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 281, No. 14) three years ago. In the study, led by Smyth, 107 asthma and rheumatoid arthritis patients wrote for 20 minutes on each of three consecutive days–71 of them about the most stressful event of their lives and the rest about the emotionally neutral subject of their daily plans. Four months after the writing exercise, 70 patients in the stressful-writing group showed improvement on objective, clinical evaluations compared with 37 of the control patients. In addition, those who wrote about stress improved more, and deteriorated less, than controls for both diseases. “So writing helped patients get better, and also kept them from getting worse,” says Smyth.    

The Write Stuff ~ Building Up Your Immune System  While we can’t always avoid stress, especially the kind that accompanies unforeseen circumstances, we need to build up our immune system to help us fight illness associated with stress. Research strongly supports that journaling improves your immune system!  Keeping a journal helps you establish order when your world feels like it’s in chaos. It helps you get to know yourself by revealing your innermost fears, thoughts, and feelings. Look at your writing time as personal relaxation time, a time when you de-stress and wind down. Write in a place that’s relaxing and soothing—maybe with a lit candle and a cup of tea. Look forward to your journaling time, and know that you’re doing something good for your mind and body.  Someday is Today. Write on… 

 
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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aubrey  |  April 21, 2015 at 11:55 am

    This is so interesting! I always knew there were psychological health benefits to writing but I never imagined that there were other health benefits. Glad you wrote about this.

    Reply
  • 2. maydon  |  April 27, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Most interesting and informative Jayne!

    Reply

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Welcome to my blog!

"It is better to improve than it is to prove"
- Jayne Bonilla

Since the road to success is always under construction, this blog is intended to serve as a visceral compass empowering readers/writers to find their own direction along the way.

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