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Can Writing Actually Improve Your Health?

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, writing about stressful life events helped reduce symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis in patients with these chronic illnesses. The effects of the writing exercise were still evident four months later and resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in patient symptoms.

Interestingly, studies showed that asthma patients who wrote about their most stressful life events showed a 19-percent improvement in lung function; similarly, rheumatoid arthritis patients had a 28-percent reduction in symptoms.


These findings add to a growing body of evidence that links mental and emotional health to physical well-being. Although researchers aren't sure exactly how expressive writing can lead to health improvements, they theorize that writing help people cope with stress, and stress-as well all know-clearly impacts health.

University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker believes that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. He theorizes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health.

Louise Moran, a nurse coordinator, has written about a patient who, during a serious illness, sent daily e-mails to friends and family about her illness, a practice the woman believes played a pivotal role in her healing process. Moran said another patient felt that journaling helped her create a new life after breast cancer. There have even been studies suggesting that journaling in healthy people actually improves the immune system.

Patti Testerman is content manager at JournalGenie.com, the only online site that analyzes your writing and then gives you instant feedback. Want to discover self-defeating patterns, or find better ways to communicate in a relationship? Check out our site.

In The News:

After 17 years underground, vast armies of cicadas and their “alien-like wail” are set to emerge in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.
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Though there is no known scientific cure for COVID-19, another potential candidate started clinical trials this week, as Novavax began to inject volunteers in Australia.
Countries across the world, including the U.S., are in various phases of reopening, but concerns of a so-called "second wave" of the coronavirus pandemic have cropped up. A new study out of Singapore, however, suggests that COVID-19 patients are not infectious 11 days after getting sick.
A mysterious inflammatory syndrome tied to COVID-19 that has been reported in children is now also turning up in young adults in their early 20s, according to news reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week is warning people of an aggressive rat problem in the U.S. stemming from a decrease in food waste during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stormy weather is threatening to delay SpaceX’s first astronaut launch.
The first astronauts launched by SpaceX are breaking new ground for style by unveiling hip spacesuits, gull-wing Teslas and even a sleek rocketship with a black and white trim.

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