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Writing can be therapeutic

by: Garry Pierrepont (17 February 2009)

We knew it all along! Writing is beneficial to mental and physical health. Great! I feel better already. Writing is said to "regulate emotion" and also reduce anxiety, fear and sadness, according to a scientific study.

The research says that writing has a cathartic effect due to its ability to inhibit parts of the brain linked to emotional upheaval and writing increases activity in region of the brain dealing with self-control.

The quality of the writing does not even matter; it is the act of writing that matters. Indeed, some scientists say that the less descriptive the better. The scientists believe they may be able to develop some therapies based on their findings to help people with social fears and phobias.

Dr Matthew Lieberman of the University of California outlined the findings in a lecture entitled Putting Feelings Into Words. He said that expressing yourself in print is "a sort of unintentional emotion regulation. It seems to regulate our distress. It could play a role in why many people write diaries or write bad lyrics to songs."

In the study of 30 individuals the author was often unaware of the benefits of the task, but examination of the brain revealed the potential.

Over time poets, writers and musicians have used tragedies from their own lives to inspire their writings.

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