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Writing About Emotional Trauma Boosts Your Immune System!

  • Published on: 10 December, 2014
  • Last update: 10 August, 2017

A study by Smyth et al. (1998) on writing’s effects looked at asthma and rheumatoid arthritis patients. Each patient wrote for 20 minutes on three consecutive days. 71 wrote about the most stressful event of their lives, and the rest wrote about emotionally neutral daily plans.

Four months later, 70 patients in the stressful-writing group showed improvement on objective clinical evaluations, compared with 37 of the control patients. In addition, those who wrote about stress improved more and deteriorated less than controls for both diseases! It helped them get better AND kept them from getting worse.

In a 1988 study by Pennebaker et al., 50 undergrads wrote about either traumatic experiences or superficial topics for 4 days. Six weeks after the writing, students in the trauma group reported more positive moods and fewer illnesses than controls. Amazingly, they also showed improved measures of cellular immune-system function. Pennebaker later studied HIV patients. After writing about negative life experiences, the patients measured higher on CD4 lymphocyte counts than did controls. This count lasted for 3 months! Imagine if they had continued writing?

This research has been out for decades. So why aren’t doctors prescribing journals instead of anti-depressants? Why aren’t we taught to implement clearly effective preventative measures BEFORE we get sick? In the wake of our new ‘advancements’ we’ve gone backwards from our ancient ancestors. The closer we get to machines, blood tests and artificial pills, the further we get from nature and the connection between mind, body and spirit. We give symptom-based treatment instead of looking at the cause. We control disease rather than prevent it. When you write, you put structure and organization to your anxious feelings. You release the pent up playback of how it happened. You’re forced to be honest with yourself. You learn what you’re really yearning for in order to get past it. Worrying and holding in emotions drains your Qi – the ultimate player in every disease. No life energy… no life. You are your best doctor, and it starts with your emotions. Heal what’s killing you inside and the outside will show results.

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