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Blogging is good for you

In our little series about what is “good for you“, we proudly present: Blogging.
I suspect we all instinctively knew about the wealth of benefits that blogging pampers us with. The Scientific American tells us what we hitherto were too shy to admit:

[B]esides serving as a stress-coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many physiological benefits. Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients, and even speeds healing after surgery. A study in the February issue of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not.

Why blogging helps to cope with stress is explained as follows:

As social creatures, humans have a range of pain-related behaviors, such as complaining, which acts as a “placebo for getting satisfied,” Flaherty says. Blogging about stressful experiences might work similarly.

Alice Flaherty, a neuroscientist at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, “studies conditions such as hypergraphia (an uncontrollable urge to write) and writer’s block”. As regards blogging, she uses a particular angle:

[She] also looks to disease models to explain the drive behind this mode of communication. For example, people with mania often talk too much. “We believe something in the brain’s limbic system is boosting their desire to communicate,” Flaherty explains. Located mainly in the midbrain, the limbic system controls our drives, whether they are related to food, sex, appetite, or problem solving.

One comment on this article reads: “i suppose that could mean the blog world is full of some very sick people.” And another person worries: “Blogging playing the role of agony aunt, do I belong to the same fold? I don’t know.”

Maybe we should concentrate on something else Flaherty says: “blogging might trigger dopamine release, similar to stimulants like music, running and looking at art” – well, blogging on a par with music and art (and, erm, running)!

Well, whatever. I’ll finish here, enjoying the dopamine release of having published my 100th post. Maybe I’ll listen to some music later, and look at some art. I won’t go running, no. But I have taken to cycling recently. ;-)

4 comments to Blogging is good for you