People blog for a lot of different reasons.
- To make money
- To build a reputation
- To express their thoughts and feelings
- To spread their ideas
- To ensure their immortality
The third item in this list, to express our thoughts and feelings, may have the greatest impact on our lives.
Western psychotherapy has it's roots in the talking cure developed by Sigmund Freud. His clients would visit him on a regular basis and just talk. While it has matured and mutated over the years, talk therapy remains with us and continues to be an effective technique of psychological change.
One of the mutations is the discovery that journaling, expressive writing, has a real and therapeutic effect, both emotionally and physically. Expressive writing, research into which was pioneered by James Pennebaker, leads to many physical and psychoemotional improvements. Among these are improvements in one's immune system function, decreases in visits to the doctor, decreases in blood pressure, and improvements in psychological health. Interestingly, these are many of the same benefits that arise from the practice of meditation.
It isn't clear why expressive writing, aka blogging, leads to improved psychological and physical health, but a likely reason seems to be that as you write, you have to think about the material you're writing about. It is amazing how much of our experience, especially experiences that are emotionally charged, we segment off into little corners of our mind. In the process of writing, we take these experiences out, examine them, attempt to understand them, and write about them in a coherent way. This allows these experiences to begin to be integrated into the rest of the psychological structures and patterns that make up our personality.
The effects of blogging are strong enough that researchers are beginning to examine it as part of an integral therapy program for diseases as drastic as cancer, HIV, and rheumatoid arthritis as well as in relatively traditional areas such as psychotherapy.
Aren't you glad you blog?