The benefits of writing go far beyond building up your vocabulary.
No matter the quality of your prose, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms. In a 2005 study on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference.
By writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events, participants were significantly more likely to have fewer illnesses and be less affected by trauma. Participants ultimately spent less time in the hospital, enjoyed lower blood pressure and had better liver functionality than their counterparts.
It turns out writing can make physical wounds heal faster as well. In 2013, New Zealand researchers monitored the recovery of wounds from medically necessary biopsies on 49 healthy adults. The adults wrote about their thoughts and feelings for just 20 minutes, three days in a row, two weeks before the biopsy. Eleven days later, 76% of the group that wrote had fully healed. Fifty-eight percent of the control group had not recovered. The study concluded that writing about distressing events helped participants make sense of the events and reduce distress.
Even those who suffer from specific diseases can improve their health through writing. Studies have shown that people with asthma who write have fewer attacks than those who don’t; AIDS patients who write have higher T-cell counts. Cancer patients who write have more optimistic perspectives and improved quality of life.
So what is it about writing that makes it so great for you?
James W. Pennebaker has been conducting research on writing to heal for years at the University of Texas at Austin. “When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health,” Pennebaker writes. “They go to the doctor less. They have changes in immune function.”
Why? Pennebaker believes this act of expressive writing allows people to take a step back and evaluate their lives. Instead of obsessing unhealthily over an event, they can focus on moving forward. By doing so, stress levels go down and health correspondingly goes up.
You don’t have to be a serious novelist or constantly reflecting on your life’s most traumatic moments to get these great benefits. Even blogging or journaling is enough to see results. One study found that blogging might trigger dopamine release, similar to the effect from running or listening to music.
From long-term health improvements to short-term benefits like sleeping better, it’s official: Writers are doing something right.
Could you please, if you haven't yet (and I can't seem to find it), do the INTP functions? Pretty please. And thank you very much.
INTPs are analytical souls forever in search of new ideas and complex theories. Many of them have a natural interest in tearing things apart, be it a tangible item to see how it works or shredding an idea right in front of you to gauge whether or not it is logical.
Their Ti makes them prone to trusting their own logic more than outside sources, which gives them a mind capable of devising new concepts, ideas, philosophies, and inventions rather than relying on old systems. They accept nothing less than “pure logic,” but their logic is subjective and based on their assessment of logic, rather than tangible external facts. They channel their logic into their Ne, in their desire for constant mental stimulation and mental pursuits.
They are good at coming up with a dozen solutions to a problem, devising different theories based on a single item, and building connections between information that seems unrelated to outsiders but is apparent in their own mind. They make intuitive leaps just like Ni-users do, but theirs are not quite as quick, and based on external variables and internal information (their knowledge banks and former experiences — Si). They often like to share ideas and follow a random pattern of thought, as new ideas come to them. They are very good at noticing what is happening under the surface in addition to what is obvious; sensing connections between other people, noticing patterns of behavior and thought processes, etc.
Because they are so driven for new information, they take up, master, and abandon various interests and hobbies frequently and share the other high-up Ne-users tendency not to finish what they start; they will, however, study it until they know all the nuances, and then put it aside. Routine, predictability, and the like bore them and new things captivate their interest immediately. Their Si often weighs in by providing them information and details from their past, which they use to help build their assumptions, as well as makes them inclined to “settle” into a habitual rut and be reluctant to try out new “menial” things (if it isn’t intellectually-related, they might stay the same in some aspect of their life … like ordering the same thing for lunch every day).
Their Fe kicks in, in a laid-back approach to life and, in a healthy INTP, a general unwillingness to intentionally hurt other people’s feelings. It makes them want affirmation although they might not prioritize it (often, this manifests in desiring the respect and admiration of peers, and people they respect). It can also mean that their emotions show at times, and often makes them desire to help other people, although they aren’t always sure how to do that.
Reading this article on IPs (so INFPs, INTPs, ISTPs, and ISFPs) and relationship challenges and this came up: ‘Rather than meeting their obligations, IPs may burn time watching television, surfing the Internet, or playing video games as a means of distraction. Such behaviors serve to soothe or stave off feelings of anxiety associated with directly facing and participating in life.’
“Intimacy is not who you let touch your genitalia. Intimacy is who you text at 3am about your dreams and fears. Intimacy is giving someone your attention, when ten other people are asking for it. Intimacy is the person always in the back of your mind, no matter how distracted you are.”—(via oursecretdesires)