31 Days of Expressive Writing for People with Chronic Illness and Pain

posted in: Chronic Pain, Counseling, Encouragement | 0

I’ve talked about the benefits of writing before. Starting this blog was a key moment for me in my own experience with pain, as it allowed me to give voice to what I was going through and process my experience.

As I have been thinking about how to approach my coaching courses, I sat down and thought once more about the things that have helped me. With writing high on my list, I decided to create a course that would allow people to purposefully and systematically write through their experience with illness and pain in a way that would be helpful and healing.

In preparation for writing this course, I researched the benefits of writing for people who have physical health problems. I was honestly surprised by what I found. I was expecting to find articles that talked about how writing benefits emotional, mental, and spiritual health, but I was not expecting to find a plethora of research on how writing helps people physically.

When people write about their experience in a very specific way, it can actually lessen physical pain, increase immune function, improve liver and lung function, and reduce blood pressure. People who write – again, in a very specific way – take fewer trips to the hospital and go to their doctor less often for stress-related issues.

There is one key to writing that heals. A key ingredient that must be used to gain all of these physical – and many more emotional – benefits from writing. Writing that heals always engages emotions. This is what research shows. Research shows that it isn’t enough to detail the events of your day or talk about what you ate for breakfast or even recount significant events in a rote fashion.

As you write, you have to think about how you feel today and how you felt in the past. You have to connect your memories and the events of your day to specific emotional experiences that are detailed and released through the words you write.

Writing about your feelings allows you to feel those same feelings in the moment. It helps you release pent up emotions, which provides physical release for the body. It exposes you to difficult feelings, invites you to lean into discomfort, and breaks the hold that past experiences still have on you.

The expressive writing course I have created allows you to do these things and more. There are many types of writing courses I could have created. The course I created is labeled as an “expressive” writing course, as it helps you engage your emotions in the ways I indicated above.

I am excited to share this course with you and hope you will give it a try. You can find it at this link, or click on the Chronic Pain Coaching tab at the top of the page. The first ten people to sign up for the course will receive a significant discount. Feel free to use the free trial to see if it seems like a course that would be helpful to you. And I hope you will stay tuned for more courses that I will be releasing in the future, including a comprehensive guide to pacing for people with chronic pain and an improved version of What Really Helps People With Chronic Pain on a new platform.

I hope to get back to my regular blog posts soon that have been sporadic with all the work I am doing behind the scenes. I hope you will bear with me, as I am excited with what I am working on and hopeful it will be helpful to many of you.

REFERENCES

Balkie, K. A. & Wilhelm, K. (2005). Emotional and physical benefits of expressive writingAdvances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11(5), 338-346.

Cepeda, M. S. et al. (2008). Emotional disclosure through patient narrative may improve pain and well-being: Results of a randomized controlled trial in patients with cancer pain. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 35(6), 623-631

Furnes, B & Dysvik, E. (2012). Therapeutic writing and chronic pain: Experiences of therapeutic writing in a cognitive behavioral programme for people with chronic pain. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21, 3372-3381.

Pennebaker, J. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. American Psychological Society, 8(3)