"Storytelling is healing. As we reveal ourselves in story, we become aware of the continuing core of our lives under the fragmented surface of our experience. We also become aware of ourselves as storytellers, and realize that what we understand and imagine about ourselves is a story."
—Susan Wittig Albert,
Writing From Life
If you've ever told your troubles to your journal or written to a friend about a loss in your life, you know the feeling of relief that comes from expressing your deepest feelings. It is especially important for women to write about their lives, because too often, we allow our stories to be shaped by men, or see ourselves as characters in men's stories. As we write about ourselves, we discover our deeper truths and begin to take responsibility for authoring our lives.
Now, researchers are discovering that writing and sharing our stories can also be physically healing. Clinical research shows that long-buried traumas can depress the immune system, that old emotional wounds can continue to fester, and that writing about an experience—whether it took place yesterday or 30 years ago—can relieve stress and make us healthier.
For more information about the mind/body connection and the way lifewriting can improve health, you may want to read:
- Emotion, Inhibition, and Health, by Harald C. Traue and James W. Pennebaker
- Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, by Joan Borysenko
- Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions, by James W. Pennebaker
- Self-Disclosure, by Valerian J. Derlega, et. al.
- The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self, Dan P. McAdams
- The Transparent Self, by Sidney M. Jourard