Some scientists have recently published a study which examines the effects of stress and anxiety on the brain, most specifically test anxiety. They discovered that when students wrote expressively (albeit briefly) about their anxiety before a test it improved their test scores significantly or, from the abstract, “Simply writing about one’s worries before a high-stakes exam can boost test scores.”
I haven’t yet read the full article so I am not certain if they tested the difference between writing longhand or typing on a keyboard made a difference… if the physical act of writing is a factor or if it is merely the expression of the anxiety, and would it have been the same if it had been a verbal expression? Well I will have to read the full article to find out (lately for some reason this type of thing really gets me jazzed up…see my post on the series “Ingenious Minds”).
But what I love about it is that writing, or expressing ourselves through words, is yet again confirmed to be rather mysteriously magical. I know that for me the act of writing helps center me, and when I begin writing and that flow comes, often when least expected, strangely wonderful things happen. I am convinced that all that journal writing I did as a child helped me to sort through some quite difficult things, and not necessarily writing about them, but just scribbling, and drawing, and creating. My fiction writing has brought me great joy and has opened up a whole world to me which, oddly enough, I lived surrounded by but never tasted. And now, blogging again.
Point is, it’s all in the writing. It is one of the few things we can do in life that doesn’t cost us a penny and has no negative side-effects. It’s not about the final product, it’s the act itself.