Writing Your Stress Away

Howard Butcher, associate professor of nursing and a researcher at the University of Iowa, is doing a study to find whether writing can help relieve the stress of caregivers of dementia patients. I think he is looking for me (my mother now has severe short-term memory loss). Butcher found in previous studies that writing can have psychological and physical health benefits after only three 20-minute sessions. This is not news to those who practice journaling.

You may have heard that writing down one’s thoughts, feelings and experiences can help us deal with unpleasant situations or events, even trauma. There are different kinds of therapeutic writing, but good spelling, grammar or writing technique are unnecessary and besides the point which is to let the feelings rush out past the floodgates and onto the paper where they can sort themselves out better. If you are looking just for stress relief, you don’t even have to read what you write! Some may call this therapy, some may call it “venting,” but most of us know how good it feels to “vent.” (Just a thought – if you don’t want anyone else to read what you write, toss your notes in the fireplace afterwards, shred them or keep them under lock and key.)

Anyone who is caring for a relative or friend with any serious memory-loss condition is welcome to visit http://swee.iowa.uiowa.edu or call 1-319-335-7039 to participate in Butcher’s study.


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
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4 Responses to Writing Your Stress Away

  1. Mary says:

    This is a wonderful post – and not surprising that a study should reveal results such as these. This is a nudge for me to start taking the time again – thanks for the good info

  2. Linda Austin says:

    Journaling is a great way to keep one’s memories intact, too, along with feelings each day’s events elicit.

  3. Ritergal says:

    Thanks for including the resource material. You do such a great job of sharing this way!

  4. Thanks so much for this post.

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