We’re counting down the reasons to participate in a write-a-thon as we count down to the release of my new book, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). Reason #2: Writing is cheaper than therapy!
The pen is mightier than the sword. — Edward Bulwer-Lytton
You’ve no doubt heard the famous quote above. What you may not know is that the pen can also trump medication and the therapist’s couch. The practice of writing can heal you both physically and emotionally.
Writing heals your body. In a study conducted with asthma patients at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, School of Medicine, study participants wrote about their most stressful experiences. The control group wrote about their daily activities. According to the book Asthma Free in 21 Days, 47 percent of the patients who wrote about their challenging life experiences showed improvement in lung function that could not be attributed to medication or other factors. 24 percent of the control group showed improvement as well. Notice this: both groups improved their lung function through writing.
Writing heals your heart. Research by psychologist James Pennebaker, author of Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions, has shown that people who used writing to make sense of their traumatic life experiences had the long-lasting effect of feeling happier and less anxious.
Writing helps you achieve your goals. In a study we looked at in an earlier blog post by psychologist Laura King, people who wrote about their best possible future selves showed an immediate increase in mood and, after five months, a decrease in illness. In addition, this writing work improved their ability to take control of behavior and make positive changes! Writers were better able to set and achieve their goals.
Your turn. How do you tap into the healing power of writing? You write—just like you will do for the write-a-thon. All of the studies suggest that any kind of writing will improve your health and sense of wellbeing. For today’s writing prompt, write 3 pages in your journal about anything that comes to mind. Write now, get healthy!