If I go a day without writing, I feel bad. I’m grumpy, non-communicative, and somewhat lethargic. The way some writers talk, you’d be forgiven for thinking that writing is the bane of their lives, and it probably is. It’s like exercise. The event itself might be a struggle, but the sense of having done it afterwards is lovely.
But Harvard studies have shown it has more benefits than you might expect.
In one early study, Dr. Pennebaker asked 46 healthy college students to write about either personally traumatic life events or trivial topics for 15 minutes on four consecutive days. For six months following the experiment, students who wrote about traumatic events visited the campus health center less often, and used a pain reliever less frequently, than those who wrote about inconsequential matters.
And other studies have shown that expressive writing can help reduce stress.
The theory is that writing things down helps you organise your thoughts, and assign meaning to your life experiences.It also help to regulate emotions, and can help you break negative mental cycles.
I know that on more than one occasion, sitting down and writing down the thoughts in my head about something has certainly helped me move on, and certainly feel better.