The Brain Likes it When You Write

Last night, a Ph.D. student in neuroscience alerts me to a  study that looks at what happens when people put their feelings into words. I’m not sure, but I think it’s this one from UCLA Neuroimaging. The very act of articulating our feelings soothes the part of the brain (the amygdala) responsible for negative emotional reactions.

We’re happier when we write. We’re happier when we put our feelings into words. The brain responds.  

I love learning the science behind why my counselors always encouraged journaling, story-telling, and communicating to empathetic listeners. I love understanding the science behind why blogging isn’t just about bored mothers who feel the need to share everything they think about for no reason at all. No! It’s because daily writing is a beautiful and important mental health practice. It’s about training our minds to articulate into words what we’re feeling. The brain enacts different and less stressful patterns when we utilize precise language to talk about our lives.

I’ve been writing daily for over four years, and these have been the least reactive, least depressive, and least despairing years of my life. It’s no coincidence. If you’re thinking about writing today, do it! If you’re thinking that it’s self-indulgent, narcissistic, or pointless, revisit the science behind why it’s important to write.

It’s good for you.

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