Writing Benefits Health

By Hadiqa Batool ’16

Research on the benefits of expressive writing has concluded that writing leads to significant physical and mental health benefits, such as improvement in mood disorders and depressive symptoms. It also helps to maintain and expand vocabulary.

A study conducted in 2005 on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing deduced that writing three to five for just 15-20 minutes times over the course of four months was enough to make a difference.

Mr. Joey Pavone, an ESL teacher said, “Like every skill, the more you practice it, the better you will become.”

The students of Midwood are blessed with a opportunity to express their perspective through writing and editing their work in their English courses such as journalism, creative writing, ESL, etc. These courses not only elevate writing skills, but also prepare students to write constructive college essays for the future.  

According to http://www.intelihealth.com/article/the-mental-health-benefits-of-expressive-writing?hd=Minding, writing down thoughts, stressors, traumatic experiences and unexpected events help people understand them. It also provides an alternative method of coping with the events or feelings, and eventually overcoming them. Expressive writing also allows for a learning experience. By reflecting on their writing, people may be able to learn how to better deal with a certain situation or how to prevent it.

          In her article Writing Your Way to Happiness in NY Times January 19 2015, Tara Parker-Pope said, “…Your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.”

“…Your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.”

                   Tara Parker-Pope

   Mr. Pavone said, “I try to make students feel at ease when writing; that I’m more interested in their ideas than spelling or grammar. I also try to provide feedback, so it’s more like a dialogue in which they know they have a caring and interesting audience. Also I try to encourage them to write their real ideas rather than just what they think they are supposed to write.”

  In a study conducted by Stanford, researchers selected African-American students who were facing complications with adjusting to college. They were divided into an experimental group who were asked to write an essay or make a video regarding college life to be seen by future students and a control group who weren’t given any task.

            The findings of the study show the students who were part of the experimental group improved academically in a matter of months compared to those who were part of control group.

    “These writing interventions can really nudge people from a self-defeating way of thinking into a more optimistic cycle that reinforce itself,” said Timothy D. Wilson, a University of Virginia psychology professor and lead author of the Duke study in the article “Writing Your Way to Happiness” published this year in the New York Times on January 19.

James W. Pennebaker who has been conducting research on the healing powers of writing said, “When people are given to opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health,” in the article “Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write (published on http://mic.com/articles/98348/science-shows-writers-have-a-serious-advantage-over-the-rest-of-us). He assumes expressive writing allows people to evaluate their lives. They concentrate on moving ahead rather than obsessing over unhealthily events. Therefore stress levels go down and health starts to improve.

         “Committing to ideas in writing can help organize your thoughts and allows you to examine and develop them in a systematic way,” said Mr. Pavone. “Writing effectively is an important skill for being successful at school and work.”

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