Write Your Way To Health

Since developing the writing workshop years ago (a previous post), I have encountered numerous articles revealing how writing can improve your health. Just this past week I ran across an article in the Dallas Morning News that caught my eye. The title was, "Is the Pen Mightier Than The Doctor?" Experts from fields of anthropology, medicine, and psychology are applauding the importance of writing advancing good health. They are presenting a three part series called: "How Stories Restore Us." Larry Allums, executive director of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture stated,
"Communication via the Internet has become an excellent outlet for people who are ill and such writing is gaining popularity. So many memoirs are being written today. This is the wonderful aspect of the blog." http://www.dallasmorningnews.com/

WHICH PEN FITS BEST 4 U? Too, there are numerous articles revealing the advantages writing brings emotionally to individuals. Writing is known to be a soothing therapy to its author. The types of writing may come in the form of journaling, poetry, prose, writing workshops like mine, creative writing, etc. A person has to find what works best for them. I know people who journal almost everyday, and it has enriched their lives and helped them through many of life's storms. Others are not that disciplined and or it is just not their thing. They may choose to have a visit with the pen only when the mood strikes which might be once a year but that once a year meeting brings healing and clarity to a situation. It's not as much about quantity, but the value the author finds in that writing moment.

SOCIAL ADVANTAGES In my research one of the things that impressed me was that when people gather in a class to write and share their stories many of their social deficits are resolved. It's found that this is especially true for senior citizens. Research also concludes that seniors not only benefit on a social level, but this type of setting creates a fertile environment for better health. Because of that advantage to seniors, I was asked to go into assisted living centers in the area and teach my workshop. It was not the right time for me to jump on board, but I thought it was an insightful way to help the elderly.

Looking Into The Closet: Not to exclude spring chickens! I had many teenagers who took my workshop and developed not just their writing skills but found therapy in sharing their challenging times. We all need to find a safe haven for sharing those moments. I had teens as well as older folks who shared closet secrets. We all have them. And I am not saying we need to expose everything. A wise word from the Bible states, "Only a fool utters all that he knows." (Proverbs 29:11).

What I am addressing are secrets that have hindered the growth of the person in some capacity. When you see people break-down in tears flowing like a fountain while telling their story, you know you have just been a part of something magical. It embraced and brought you to a deeper understanding to human tragedy. You walk away speechless. And I did many a time in my workshops.

And having other students there in that moment created an environment for emotional support. Too, on a confidential note, what was revealed in class stayed safely tucked within those four walls.

Participants shared everything from birth tragedies to death blessings. Rarely was anything left out. Adoption and its deep roots of pain, yet triumph. Deaths of babies lost to a devastating illness. War stories that didn't always wear medals. Misgivings in families. Rape. Incest. Crisis pregnancies. Abandonment. Divorce. The list is endless. And not to dwell on the clouded side of life, but it's important to share that those very stories ended with redemption eventually peeping its beautiful little head through the storm.

Which reminds me of another article called, "Savor the Sorrow". Author and Wake Forest prof Eric G. Wilson states in his book Against Happiness:In Praise of Melancholy when "happy types" run away from sorrow, they cut themselves off from a full ride--and from the wellspring of creativity. He believes that Americans are dangerously addicted to happiness. (Dallas Morning News) My own personal hand in research came in the way of surveys in my workshops. The stats always proved that writing became a method to soften the blows in life. Better to write than to run from pain!

WRITING IN ALL THE RIGHT PLACES Writing has always found its way into every crevice of life. Whether it be on the walls of prisons like in Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo or scribbled in the ground leaving a message like Christ did when the Pharisees were busy about condemning a women in sin, or in a bottle that is thrown to sea. Did you read recently about a couple who did just that and interestingly enough the bottle was found by another couple who happened to have the same wedding anniversary? Did you see the movie, "Message In A Bottle"? Or think of the movie "Cast Away" where Tom Hanks found comfort in trying to journal his way to survival. Think of all the hieroglyphics telling a story on walls in caves throughout history.

Too, I can't help but think of poetry. Many a poet will tell you their creative juices flowed best when they were squeezed through life's tugs-of-war. While some of these are fictional, we know reality speaks the same story many times over. Without question, we know writing is oftentimes marrow to our bones. Try it and your health might like it.


Being an author is made easy in the 21st Century; it's called blogging, my spacing, etc. Remember what you author on the Internet is legally yours. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, a copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the U.S....to the authors of original works of authorship." Works can be literary, dramatic, musical, audiovisual, and artistic, published or unpublished, in any form including print and electronic. Do you have to be concerned about plagiarism? Uh, yes, since the beginning of man. While copyright happens automatically when a work is created, it is advisable to apply for a certificate from the Copyright office. http://www.copyright.gov/ , The Everything Blogging Book (purchase at http://www.amazon.com/) However, from what I understand copyright laws have changed so once you have authored work, legally it is yours, therefore copyrighted.

Check out my writing website: http://www.thewritememories.com/ Also take a gander at my writing blog under construction: http://www.writememories.blogspot.com/