I came across this new writing trend called, “morning pages.” Essentially, it’s a practice where you sit down every morning and write whatever comes into your mind, unadulterated, until you have three full pages. There are plenty of people who are jumping on this bandwagon. And, with good reason.
To state it bluntly – writing regularly is good for you.
This is part of the reason I blog, and why I think everyone should consider writing if blogging is not in their wheelhouse as part of their personal maintenance. Consider this research that shows writing decreases illness.
In a variation on Pennebaker’s writing paradigm, a sample of 81 undergraduates wrote about one of four topics for 20 minutes each day for 4 consecutive days. Participants were randomly assigned to write about their most traumatic life event, their best possible future self, both of these topics, or a nonemotional control topic. Mood was measured before and after writing and health center data for illness were obtained with participant consent. Three weeks later, measures of subjective well-being were obtained. Writing about life goals was significantly less upsetting than writing about trauma and was associated with a significant increase in subjective well-being. Five months after writing, a significant interaction emerged such that writing about trauma, one’s best possible self, or both were associated with decreased illness compared with controls. Results indicate that writing about self-regulatory topics can be associated with the same health benefits as writing about trauma.Laura A. King
I’d like to make writing a habitual practice to the extent that I don’t have to plan to do it, put it on a todo list, or keep track of this habit. Even if you write yourself daily todo lists, I doubt you put the ingrained minute tasks like “brush your teeth” on there. Unless you’re weird. And, if you’re weird, then we’d probably get along swimmingly.
Ever been laid off or terminated from employment? Consider this:
The engineers who wrote down their thoughts and feelings about losing their jobs reported feeling less anger and hostility toward their former employer. They also reported drinking less. Eight months later, less than 19% of the engineers in the control groups were reemployed full-time, compared with more than 52% of the engineers in the expressive writing group.Stefanie P. Spera, Eric D. Buhrfeind and James W. Pennebaker
If a behavior as simple as writing can have a positive impact on someone who is going through something as traumatic as losing their job, don’t you think you stand to gain from writing irrespective of your particular circumstances?
The studies that indicate writing about things you feel grateful for are bountiful.
Ultimately, you don’t have to write every single day. You don’t have to write three pages by hand. And, most importantly, you don’t even have to write well!
Just write. Get started. If you’d like help starting a blog, HMU.
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