When one of the Post editors asked me if I would be willing to contribute to the new Living Well blog, I was elated. Healthy living has long been a personal passion and interest of mine. Plus, I’m always looking for new projects to work on. Even so, a list of cons soon began to grow in my head. Now I would have another deadline to worry about, another site to check up on, and what if no one ever comments? Would I take it personally? With the list of worries multiplying exponentially, I decided to rationalize my fears by writing them down. After reviewing the list in print, I deduced my concerns to be petty anxieties (“the small stuff”), and now I feel great! I’m living well! And here’s why:
Even though the process of writing, rewriting, editing, searching for the perfect word, and ripping up version after version of not-quite-right verbiage can be frustrating, the thing about keeping an online journal, or blogging, that’s so rewarding is that you don’t have to spell check, look up words, or do anything more than just write (type) what you feel. Let it all out. It may even improve your physical health, and it sure beats jogging on a cold winter’s day!
“When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health,” says Dr. James W. Pennebaker, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. “Writing helps us focus and organize the experience.”
I also find it just as therapeutic to learn from the emotions of others.
So dear readers, I encourage you to check in with your emotions, express your thoughts, share your experiences. Please let us know your feelings — bitter or sweet — if not for your own health’s sake, then for the sake of other bloggers (and for my personal ego).
Has writing helped you cope with an emotional challenge? If you’ve never tried it, here’s an opportunity to start. Get blogging. We’re listening.