Sunday, May 18, 2008

Blog frequency and topics.

In a book I'm reading, there was this random off-topic observation about a new theory on journaling.

The thinking now goes that writing only about bad things is bad for your mental health.

Apparently it is now believed that it is healthier to write regularly (every day) no matter what.

I guess this could be because it forces you to take note on days when nothing particularly interesting or otherwise bad has happened (?).

It really had not crossed my mind how much writing can act to reinforce our ideas, both consciously and unconsciously. In the process of writing these blogs, I do read and re-read what I've written, and edit, and re-write, and repeat. In the process, my words do get into my eyes and ears.

So I'm curious about this theory, and I might try to find out more about it. In some ways I guess it makes sense.

I certainly had not considered that only blogging when the mood strikes might be bad for me somehow.

Sometimes the mood is funny or at least darkly humorous, but there are lots of days when things are basically fine and I just have nothing interesting to say. And this year especially I have not been blogging every day.

So I don't know if it would help me much to write something every day, even if it's not particularly pithy or insightful. But it would be worth it to do the experiment, since it might have a dual purpose: to help allay the erroneous perception seen often in the comments, that I am my blog in real life.

I'm not trying to be my blog persona. But maybe blogging is adversely affecting me psychologically in ways I never considered.

And here I thought blogging was an outlet. Maybe it's just a form of electronic wallowing that actually makes me feel worse without my knowing it.

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At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only blog when I'm feeling happy. A side-benfit is that people then think that I'm happy, in control, etc. :)

At 9:03 AM, Anonymous StrayCat007 said...

I can see where re-reading your own (or other's) material would reinforce your thoughts, positive or negative. I once received a vicious, cutting, unbelievably hurtful email from a very close relative. Just to read it hurt horribly. I finally deleted the email and destroyed the printout. I knew I would never be able to repair the relationship if I kept those words fresh in my memory. (The relationship was eventually repaired - yeah!).
I think writing something everyday is a good idea. It may benefit you to see, and I enjoy your blogging!

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous JaneB said...

I have found that it is useful to track the 'not awful' in life sometimes - for example if I'm having an 'why do I do this' week with a lot of admin rubbish and political nonsense, I will often get myself to keep a tally for a couple of days of how often I have a perfectly reasonable interaction with someone or can answer a query, and take time at the end of the day to note what I actually did, and than can help me to see that not EVERYTHING I do is pointless... and I keep print outs of 'thank you' emails from students/collaborators/attendees at workshops I've organised in a file for the occasional reminder that some of my work _is_ appreciated!

In pure self-interest, it would be great if you wrote every day, I can always use more procrastination materials!

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Psych Post Doc said...

There is quite a bit about the benefits of writing in the psych literature. Pennebaker (UTexas Austin) is probably the most well known author of this work.

I do think it helps to write about both the good and the bad. Maybe it doesn't help to re-read the bad though. Personally, it helps me feel better to write about negative things that happen to me, but then when I'm feeling down I will re-read positive letters or emails that I've received to lift my spirits.


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