Keeping a diary is healing for body as well as mind, says this article, and based on my experience, I agree.
This is why I have returned to the simple practise of blogging.
Maia Szalavitz at Time magazine reports on a new study suggesting that writing about traumatic experiences, and the emotions associated with them, for 20 minutes a day greatly accelerates the healing of physical injuries – in this case, tiny skin wounds administered as part of the research:
Researchers led by Elizabeth Broadbent, a senior lecturer in health psychology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, studied 49 healthy senior citizens, aged 64 to 97. For three days, half were assigned to write for 20 minutes a day about the most traumatic event they had experienced, and were encouraged to be as open and candid as they could about exactly what they felt and thought at the time…
The other participants wrote for the same duration about their plans for the next day, avoiding mentioning their feelings, opinions or beliefs. Two weeks after the first day of writing, researchers took small skin biopsies, under local anesthesia… Eleven days after the biopsy, 76% of the group that had written about trauma had fully healed while only 42% of the other group had.
I know this to be true. I started blogging five years after a life crash, and it definitely helped me heal. My wounds were mostly psychological, the results of a disastrous relationship and some bad life decisions. I more than survived, I thrived after pushing the medical establishment for answers, finding them myself, and undergoing deep psychotherapy.
I also concur with this:
…you shouldn’t view journalling as an attempt to formulate solutions to your problems; the real benefit comes from the third-person perspective that’s attained when you externalise your thoughts. It’s interesting to speculate whether the effect may be similar to that of meditation: not changing your thoughts and feelings so much as changing your relationship to them – so that you no longer take them to be an unquestionable, intractable, non-negotiable reality.
Write, baby, write.