— originally written April 7, 2013 for an extinct website —
Many people have emotional, spiritual, or even professional reasons to write daily in a journal — but did you know it has been found to promote good health as well?
Researchers have found that suppressing lingering emotions such as resentment or anger can lead to increased blood pressure, reduced immune function, and even clotting in the arteries. In fact, 75 to 80% of all heart attacks are due to overstimulation of the heart muscle due to stress. It seems that holding it all in may not be such a good idea.
Studies have shown that writing out your troubles in a journal for as little as 5 to 15 minutes each day has a tendency to improve not only your general health and immune function, but also your attitude and energy level!
The trick seems to lie in getting it out, letting go of all those negative feelings rather than stockpiling them. If you can only do this in the form of a bombastic letter to your target, write it! Then, destroy it. Aim to say everything you want, with as much ferocity as you like — but make a wise decision to salvage the relationship by then deleting or shredding the letter. Again, studies have shown that this actually WORKS.
Don’t be discouraged if you still feel bad after writing your emotion-laden letter or journal entry. This has also been researched and it appears that even those who feel negative immediately after completing their healing-writing almost always feel a sense of relief and greater contentment after only one hour. However, if you still do not feel better a couple hours after your release-writing, it may mean that you really do need to start writing EVERY day — you may have a deep reservoir of stored-up emotions that need to be released.
Try this: The next time you feel a surge of negative emotion that cannot be released openly, sit down and write it out. Describe what happened, and how it made you feel. What other negative memories or emotions seem to be surfacing right now? Write about those as well. Do not censor your words and do not even try to stick to the topic – just aim to get it all out. Afterwards, have enough respect for yourself and others by either destroying this piece of negativity-leaking, or by keeping it far away from probing eyes. This is your personal release-writing and needs to be viewed as a rough draft describing one moment of your emotional life — not as a performance piece to be shared. You may find some insight by returning to read it weeks later — but you are unlikely to get the response you desire by showing it to someone else.