“Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn.”– Scott Adams
I recently wrote a post about the health benefits that blogging can provide, and there are many. I’d like to cexplore this a little more in depth, though. The effects of this specific type of release are tremendous. It seems obvious on a very basic level, but the facts are in, and they speak for themselves.
According to the American Psychological Association, blogging is healthy in ways you may never have imagined. Mental health experts say that short-term, focused writing can “enhance immune function, lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, reduce asthma and arthritis symptoms, and lessen sleep disturbances in patients with metastatic cancers”.
Again, the benefits are plentiful.
A 2013 study suggests blogging is more effective than basic journaling or writing.
There are four categories when it comes acknowledging the health benefits of blogging:
· Interaction with others
o There is both a sense of community and anonymity amongst bloggers.
· Inwardly oriented benefits
o Being able to vent or express oneself is a key benefit that blogging provides. There is less emphasis on certain aspects of differences in the blogging world.
· Providing a safe space apart from ‘real life’
o The blogging community, no matter how large it gets, still allows one to feel safe while still having a voice in the mix.
· Use of time spent blogging
o Blogging can be a constructive and therapeutic activity, while also offering a much-needed distraction.
Researchers at the University of Texas discovered other physical benefits of blogging, such as:
· enhance immune function
· lower blood pressure
· decrease heart rate
· reduce asthma and arthritis symptoms
· lessen sleep disturbances in patients with metastatic cancers
The American Psychological Association (APA) supports expressing thoughts and feelings in the arts, including blogging and journaling.
Blogging also promotes wellness, which provides people with certain skills needed to “recover”. Wellness helps us mend, restore, and to be whole.
Blogging can also help chip away at the stigma of mental illness, according to Ali Mattu, PhD, a clinical psychologist.
“As psychologists, it’s our job to model how to handle these things, and if we’re not willing to talk about some of our own difficulties and how we’ve sought help, how do we expect our patients to do it?”
Deborah Serani, PsyD, a New York-based psychotherapist, agrees.
“There’s a lot of science grounding expressive language writing and journaling as being an helpful piece for maintaining mental wellness,” she said. “You don’t want patients to use their 50-minute session to process what’s going on in their lives.”
Being able to appreciate the anonymity of blogging while still taking advantage of its communal perks only goes to show its influence.
It is important, but blogging isn’t a cure-all or should take the place of other healthy alternatives.
“Social media can be a good adjunct to treatment, but not a replacement,” says Colorado clinical psychologist Stephanie Smith, PsyD, who blogs about the importance of psychology and good mental health. Smith acknowledges that there are many people who can’t afford the treatment they need.
“If online support and resources are all that some folks can manage, then it’s important we support them in that.”
Despite all the health benefits, there are downsides to blogging.
“Negative comments are inevitable when blogging, and in fact, there are people who troll blogs to find something to argue, berate or taunt,” Serani says. “Resist talking back, arguing or trying to prove your point to the negative commenter. Instead, delete his or her existence once you discover it.”
Since blogging and other social media outlets are here to stay, it’s important for psychologists to understand how the technology is used in the best way for healthy blogging.