There are many ways to incorporate your hobbies to promote your own mental health such as painting, knitting, or even dancing.
These activities can work quite well for artistic people, but there are also other expressive ways that can help when you are feeling down. One of these is writing therapy, and its psychological effects have been widely recognised.
This form of therapy was developed by James Pennebaker in the late 80s. Since then there has been much research that has revealed how beneficial it is: ranging from improving symptoms of those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis; as well as helping with recovery from childhood sexual abuse and postpartum depression.
It has also been proven to improve the state of mind for those with Parkinson’s, cancer and other health conditions.
Blogging and its therapeutic effects
But fast forward to the internet era – we are no longer limited in how we express ourselves in writing. We can now run our own blogs. That means we can now engage with writing therapy the modern way.
Blogging experts reveal that there were 152 million blogs on the internet as of 2013.
Blogging has become far-reaching in the digital world, and this has resulted in a spectacular growth in the number of blogging genres – from travel blogs, to lifestyle blogs, and of course mental health blogs.
A number of people find it rewarding to have their own mental health blog – whether as an advocacy to address stigma surrounding mental health, or simply as an outlet to express themselves.
Whatever the primary reason may be, it cannot be denied that there is power in connecting with other people through blogs and in sharing our struggles. And blogging is simply all about sharing.
Blogs have become so popular that there is now a sub-discipline in psychology that explores how blogs affect our well-being (among other things). This field is known as blog psychology.
The discipline of blog psychology attempts to apply psychological principles in order to maximise the benefits that readers can get from blogs.
It also deals with readers’ perception, cognition and humanistic components in regard to their experience of consuming blogs.
Sharing a part of ourselves is simply therapeutic. That’s why there are now many charities around the world that encourage people with mental health stories to share their experiences through blogs. For instance, Mind and Sane regularly publish people’s mental health stories.
Everyone experiencing a mental health problem deserves support and respect and blogging is an ideal outlet to achieve both. By sharing mental health stories, we can collectively help the fight against stigma and misinformation.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the world’s first blog psychologist and founder of Psychreg. As an international mental health advocate, he speaks at various conferences around the world and believes that everyone experiencing a mental health problem deserves both support and respect. Blogging can be a vital part of that.