Writing as an antidote to loneliness – Harvard Health Blog

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It could not appear doable to have the ability to write your approach to higher well being. However as a health care provider, a public well being practitioner, and a poet myself, I do know what the scientific knowledge need to say about this: when folks write about what’s of their hearts and minds, they really feel higher and get more healthy. And it isn’t simply that they’re getting their troubles off their chests.

Writing supplies a rewarding technique of exploring and expressing emotions. It permits you to make sense of your self and the world you might be experiencing. Having a deeper understanding of the way you assume and really feel — that self-knowledge — supplies you with a stronger connection to your self. It’s that connection that usually permits you to transfer previous unfavourable feelings (like guilt and disgrace) and as a substitute entry constructive ones (like optimism or empathy), fostering a way of connection to others along with oneself.

Making connections is essential

It’s exceptional that the sense of connection to others that one can really feel when writing expressively can happen even when individuals are not engaged straight. Consider being at a film or live performance and experiencing one thing dramatic or uplifting. Simply realizing that everybody else on the theater is sharing an expertise could make you are feeling related to them, even for those who by no means speak about it. Expressive writing can have the identical connecting impact, as you write about issues that you simply acknowledge others can also be experiencing, even when these experiences differ. And for those who share your writing, you’ll be able to improve your connection to another person much more. That profit is energizing, life-enhancing, and even lifesaving in a world the place loneliness — and the sick well being it might probably result in — has change into an epidemic.

Possibly it’s time to pay better consideration to expressive writing as one necessary approach to improve a way of connection to others. Social connection is essential to human improvement, well being, and survival, however current research suggests that social connection is essentially ignored as a well being determinant. We ignore that relationship at our peril, since rising medical analysis signifies {that a} lack of social connections can have a profound affect on threat for mortality, and is related to as much as a 30% threat for early dying — as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Social isolation and loneliness can have further long-term results in your well being together with impaired immune operate and elevated irritation, selling arthritis, sort 2 diabetes, most cancers, and coronary heart illness.

How expressive writing battles loneliness

Selecting up a pen generally is a highly effective intervention towards loneliness. I’m a robust believer in writing as a means for people who find themselves feeling lonely and remoted to outline, form, and trade their private tales. Expressive writing, particularly when shared, helps foster social connections. It will probably scale back the burden of loneliness among the many many teams who’re most in danger, together with older adults, caregivers, these with main sicknesses, these with disabilities, veterans, younger adults, minority communities of all kinds, and immigrants and refugees.

Writing helps us to function prior to now, current, and future all of sudden. Whenever you put pen to paper you might be working within the current second, even whereas your mind is actively making sense of the recalled previous, selecting and shaping phrases and features. However the mind additionally is working sooner or later, because it footage an individual studying the very phrases you might be actively writing. When expressing themselves in writing, individuals are really creating an artifact — a logo of a few of their ideas and emotions. Individuals usually can write what they discover tough to talk, and they also discover deeper truths. This technique of expression via the written phrase can construct belief and bonds with others in unthreatening methods, forging a path towards a extra conscious and related life.

When folks inform their private tales via writing, whether or not in letters to associates or household, or in journals for themselves, or in on-line weblog posts, or in conventionally revealed work, they usually uncover a method of organizing and understanding their very own ideas and experiences. Writing helps demystify the unknown and scale back fears, particularly once we share these written issues with others.

Write to your well being

As a poet, I’ve personally skilled the advantages of expressive writing. The talents it sharpens; the expertise of sharing concepts, emotions, and perceptions on a web page; the sensations of mental stimulus and emotional aid — all are life enhancing. I’d like extra folks to find that expressive writing can contribute to well-being, simply as train and healthful consuming do.

I’ve documented some of the research being finished within the space of therapeutic and the humanities. After reviewing greater than 100 research, we concluded that inventive expression improves well being by decreasing despair and stress whereas boosting wholesome feelings. So choose up a pen, and begin to write creatively. For the thoughts and the physique, writing is a robust prescription for good well being.

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The Foundation for Art & Healing

The UnLonely Project



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