“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
Although these words were once said hundreds of years ago by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth, they still ring true today.
Now, more than ever, is a time to reflect and take the opportunity to document how you’re feeling. But rather than the familiar pen and paper, why not get these thoughts of yours online?
Whereas journals and diaries remain private, blogging has the advantage of being public, i.e. what you write is shared with others. Think of it as being handed someone’s personal diary, albeit in a virtual way.
The beauty of blogging is that anyone can do it, from anywhere. And blogging about your feelings and experiences is one of the most therapeutic habits you can form, especially in uncertain times like these.
It should come as no big surprise, then, why so many people turn to blogging to relieve and manage their stress. While stress can manifest itself physically (think high blood pressure, lack of appetite, insomnia, etc.) or mentally (feeling depressed, scared, or panicked), one thing is for certain – it affects everyone, at some point in time or another.
When you start to think of writing (blogging) as your own personal way to navigate stressful times, it starts to be seen as a great form of relief, helping you to overcome life’s many curveballs.
Now let’s dive a little deeper into why blogging is great for relieving stress.
Blogging Creates an Emotional Outlet
Blogging, in its purest form, is about vulnerability.
Sometimes blogging is about sharing a personal story. Sometimes it’s about reinforcing a held perspective. Sometimes, it’s simply unloading what’s currently on your mind.
All of these aforementioned reasons are especially true if you blog for personal reasons. While you may not think of your blog as your “secret diary,” it can certainly serve as an emotional outlet – right up there with exercising, listening to music or having a long chat with a trusted friend.
While studies have continued to show that writing helps people heal emotionally after a traumatic experience, your experiences don’t have to be considered traumatic to write about them. Sometimes it’s more about sharing the everyday minutiae of your life that can be an instant stress-reliever.
Part of being human is that we all experience sadness, anger, confusion, and anxiety. Some, to be fair, feel it more often than others and quite intensely. Others feel these ranges of emotions on occasion. Some report hardly ever feeling this way. But what we can all (hopefully) agree upon is that keeping these emotions inside is the most counterproductive way to dealing with them.
Because when you start getting these all-encompassing feelings in your head out on “virtual” paper, somehow their intensity seems to lessen, allowing you to take a step back and assess what’s really going on. When you keep your thoughts and feelings bottled up inside, they can often cloud your judgment and keep you from seeing the bigger picture.
Blogging also lets you go back and “edit” your thoughts, before you decide to publish. It’s a more objective way of dealing with how you’re feeling, given you can quite literally see your thoughts directly spelled out on the screen in front of you.
Blogging Is Good for Your Health
Want to lower your blood pressure, enhance your immunity, and get better sleep?
Try blogging. Since the 1980s, research by University of Texas at Austin psychology professor Dr. James Pennebaker and his associates found that short-term focused writing about emotions could enhance immune function, lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, reduce asthma and arthritis symptoms, as well as lessen sleep disturbances in patients with metastatic cancers.
In addition to the physical benefits, his research also showed that short-term focused writing helped to lower anxiety, lessen rumination, and alleviate the symptoms associated with depression.
Pennebaker’s findings ultimately led others in the field to explore the correlation between writing and neurology. According to a Harvard University neuroscientist, Alice Flaherty, given that humans are inherently social beings and experience a range of pain-related behaviors, she found that something as simple as complaining can act as a placebo to feeling satisfied. In this sense, then, blogging about stress-inducing experiences may very well prove to do the same.
What continues to fascinate modern researchers is that writing seems to somehow activate neurological pathways. That’s why some hospitals, under the guidance of clinicians, have even started to publish patient-authored blogs on their websites. These blogs have been found to provide therapeutic value to those in similar situations, giving patients the chance to connect and form a community based on their shared experience.
Blogging Is Your Chance to Connect
Speaking of connection, when you blog, you’re suddenly casting a wide net to connect with like-minded individuals, all of whom seem eager to read your thoughts.
And when your audience is the entire Internet, you have the unique opportunity to discover different cultures, ways of life, thought processes, and more. Given that the very nature of blogging leads to feedback, comments, and replies, this naturally allows for conversations to form and flow. As a result, when you start blogging, you may very well find yourself communicating with your audience and taking their feedback to heart. This ultimately allows for a greater understanding of yourself and makes you feel more connected to those around you, especially when the world seems fraught with fragility.
An added bonus of blogging? The more you write, the more you’ll start to develop your skills as a writer. OK, so maybe you won’t become the next New York Times bestselling author but you’ll definitely find that expressing yourself through words becomes a whole lot easier.
Blogging Doesn’t Always Have to Be Public
Yes, it’s true. Putting your personal writing out there for the whole world to see can feel overwhelming and scary. You might be asking yourself:
What if people don’t like it?
What if people want to fix me?
What if people start bullying me?
That’s why anonymous blogging (meaning, you don’t use your real name) is also an option to consider. This allows you to express how you’re feeling without the fear of being judged for your innermost thoughts.
If you’d like to meet somewhere in the middle, such as using your real name but doing your best to avoid any negativity, consider using a comment moderation tool on your blog. This lets you review all comments before they’re published or even create settings where comments aren’t allowed at all.
If you decide to run your blog using your real name and let the comments flow freely, keep in mind that negative comments are pretty much inevitable when it comes to sharing your thoughts on the Internet. Whether that’s a post on your official LinkedIn account or on your blog itself, there will always be naysayers.
What you can do? Resist talking back, arguing or trying to prove your point. You’re better than that.
As you can now see, penning your thoughts via a blog is incredibly cathartic. Blogging has not only been shown to lessen stress on a physical and mental level, it also connects those with shared thoughts and feelings.
Because when you start to blog about topics that strike a chord with people, you undoubtedly feel a rush of happiness. It’s as if with every positive comment or reply you receive from your readers, your layers of stress slowly shed, letting you breathe a little easier and focus your attention more clearly.
It doesn’t take long before you realize that what you have to say does matter and people want to hear it. This will only encourage you to blog more often and consider the next steps, such as blogging to make an income.
But before you even start thinking about the potential business opportunities of blogging, you’ll want to get your blog up and running with the almighty WordPress. Currently powering over 30% of the Internet’s websites, WordPress is definitely where you want your blog to be.
Looking for something that makes it even easier to set up your first blog? Opt for Managed WordPress Hosting, which does all the technical heavy lifting for you, without breaking the bank.
Do you find blogging stress-relieving? What are your favorite tips for managing stress? Let us know in the comments below!