The scientific research on the benefits of creative writing is actually quite vast and previous studies have shown that writing about yourself and a personal experience can improve mood disorders, help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, improve a person’s health after a heart attack, and even boost memory. Seems like a pretty solid gig, right?
To make that list even longer, researchers are now studying whether the power of writing — and rewriting! — your personal story can lead to a change in behavior and actually improve your happiness.
Basically, researchers are looking into the idea that we all have personal narratives that shape our view of the world and ourselves. Even though our perception skills are incredible, sometimes our inner voice doesn’t get it completely right.
Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, in our own voice, we can change our view of ourselves and identify what is standing in the way of our health and happiness.
In a previous study, researchers gathered 40 college freshman at Duke University who were struggling academically. They worried about grades and whether or not they were even intellectually equal to other students.
The students were divided into two groups. Students in the first group were given info telling them that it is normal for to struggle in their freshman year. They watched videos of other students who talked about how their adjustment to college. They were then prompted to write their own narratives about college. Rather than thinking they weren’t cut out for it, they were encouraged to think that they just needed more time to adjust.
The second group, the control group, was not given any info or encouragement to write. They simply continued their schoolwork.
In the short term, the students who had undergone the creative or 'expressive' writing workshop got better grades on a sample test, improved their grade-point averages and were less likely to drop out over the next year than the students who received no information.
In the control group, which had received no advice about grades, 20 percent of the students had dropped out within a year. But in the intervention group, only 1 student — or just 5 percent — dropped out.
To read about more studies related to this: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/writing-your-way-to-happiness/?ref=health&_r=0
Basically, we all see the world and ourselves differently, so who better to encourage us, admire us, and strive to change us for the better, than ourselves?