We all know the feeling of a really good venting session. Whether its on the phone, in a co-worker’s office, over coffee, dinner or wine it just feels good to “get it out”.
Writing is another way to air emotions and process thoughts. Putting pen to paper - that age-old method - helps us better understand ourselves and our feelings.
Diaries, though, can’t provide reciprocal validation - the person on the receiving end of the rant who listens, absorbs and validates our opinions. Even if they disagree, knowing we’ve been heard can make all the difference.
Enter blogs. A recent Newsweek story says, “Blogging fulfills that primal need for sympathy.” The same article quotes Harvard neurologist Alice Flaherty, “Writing is an effort of the brain to communicate for comfort…Diaries are a form of that communication, but removed. Blogging gets you closer to that sympathetic audience, and that’s what makes it therapeutic.”
When faced with a health challenge, blogging can be particularly beneficial. Not only a mechanism to process emotions, a recent report from The Oncologist (originally reported by The New York Times) noted expressive writing, which involves writing down your deepest thoughts and feelings, may improve the quality of life for cancer patients.
Keeping a journal on private web pages is “like therapy”, “a place to unload”, and “helps me stay strong”. Keeping friends and family current about a health situation is easier when you can share news once and know everyone is getting the same information.
And, it’s comforting to know someone is listening and shares your discouragement in a bad day, and celebrates when you receive the great news you’ve been hoping to hear.