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Writing Improves Your Health (That Easy, Yes!)
There are many past times for people who need to be coping with stress. Some people suggest exercise, meditation, or getting more sleep. Other people suggest aromatherapy, or taking a long vacation. Still, others recommend taking up a new hobby, and research shows that one hobby may be particularly beneficial: Writing.
While many people do not consider themselves good writers, science suggests that just about anyone coping with stress or even serious psychological issues can benefit from giving it a try, and don’t worry— there’s no grades here, and no publishers to win over. It’s just you, your thoughts, and the pen (or keyboard).
What Stress Does to Your Body
Stress can take a significant toll on your body over time. In addition to being emotionally taxing and a killer of productivity and energy, it can result in a weakened immune system reducing your body’s ability to resist an infection. If you’ve ever had a cold during a particularly challenging period at work, you probably have experienced this yourself.
People, who have experienced particularly traumatizing events, like being in a car accident or a combatant in a battlefield, are at a special risk. They can develop a sort of permanent fight-or-flight mode called post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD. It can take years for symptoms of PTSD to go away, even with therapy and medication.
Luckily, for those living with these conditions as well as just stressed out folks, there is hope.
Write Your Stress Away
In a Veteran’s Affair’s-linked study from 2014 in West Haven, CT, in the United States, it was discovered that writing could be quite effective in reducing stress levels in the study participants. The study involved 149 women with PTSD symptoms who were in a residential treatment program for patients with substance abuse problems. The women were instructed to write for 20 minutes for 4 days in a row. The variable was the topic assigned to them. Some of the women had to write about neutral, unemotional topics. The other half wrote in detail about something that was bothering them or some other emotional topic.
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