I read an article today about the positive effects of artistic expression, specifically art, music, and writing. It mentioned a few different studies that have been done, but didn't cite any directly, so I unfortunately can't share more details for anyone who is interested. I certainly don't have to be convinced that these effects are real; I have long been a proponent and benefactor of being involved in the arts. But in this article, the piece about writing caught my attention.
"Writing seems to curtail symptoms associated with chronic disease, promote immune response, and lower stress, according to various studies.....Not only does it de-clutter thoughts, it can relieve tension, inspire problem solving, and offer insight into psychological and emotional burdens that stifle wellness."
If I step back and look at my blogging experience so far, I can see all of those things happening. Well, I can't really speak to curtailing symptoms associated with chronic disease, talk to me in 20 years and I'll let you know how that is working out for me. Also, I don't have any objective evidence to support a strengthened immune response, because I haven't really been doing this long enough for any point of comparison. But for all that other stuff, there is no doubt.
My first blog rattled off a list of things I wanted to do. At the time, that list seemed massive and unattainable. But I have accomplished at least a start to quite a few of those things. And really, really, enjoying them. Writing about what I want to do and then writing about doing it is both a motivational tool and positive reinforcement to keep doing more. I was really bothered by the lack of all those wants/needs being absent in my life, and writing has provided a path to change that.
I have even noticed the negatively-overachieving part of my personality starting to creep back and poke questions into my happy little hobby nirvana. Meals are being cooked, chores are being completed, errands are being run, parenting and fun is ongoing, exercise is slowly increasing, bills are being paid, to-do lists are being worked on, and I'm still finding time to enjoy hobbies I haven't paid attention to in a long time. Yet I am still always wondering if there is something I am forgetting, some task, some project, something that is going to fall apart or explode. Then that little overachieving gnome is going to crawl out of the shadows and smugly say, while waggling a pointy finger at me, "See?! SEE?! I told you so. You can't possibly have time for you, LOOK at what happened!" I recognize now that sending that gnome back to the shadows every now and again is a good thing. Until recently, he constantly sat on my shoulder whispering endless checklists as the soundtrack of my day. So if that's not "insight into psychological and emotional burdens that stifle wellness," I don't know what is.
So I write. Sometimes I'll have no choice but to abandon ship and go back to the check-lists and the stress. Somebody just make sure to keep the gnome patrol on speed-dial.