Wednesday, April 02, 2008

TO READ: Blogging to Beat Depression?
Millions of us blog these days. Among other things, blogging offers an opportunity to create a diary that includes emotions, as well as events, to share with others. But is blogging, like some other forms of writing, able to help ease depression?

Australian researcher James Baker of the Swinburne University of Technology says yes -- but for a surprising reason.

Baker has found that, in fact, people who begin blogs tend to be "more distressed emotionally" than others. As he told an ABC Online interviewer last month, new bloggers show "high levels of stress, anxiety, depression. They are also more likely to vent emotionally and self blame a bit as far as coping."

However, when Baker surveyed about 130 people, 60 of whom then started a blog, he discovered that two months later the bloggers had changed. They were "a bit happier overall . . . a little bit less distressed," he reported, "but the big difference was that people who actually started a blog felt more socially integrated." This feeling of connection comes from the fact that bloggers are making personal material public, receiving comments, and developing a sense of an online community.

He suggests that, ironically, perhaps people's private postings can help them become more connected to the outside world and, along with that, less depressed.

Sounds a lot like the findings I report in Writing through the Darkness: sharing what you've written is often an important part of the healing process. So, whether you're currently journaling, writing poetry, or, hopefully, doing the exercises suggested in this blog, consider sharing them, either online or person-to-person.


jws said...

This is very interesting. It is very relevant given the trend toward virtual communities. It is good to see that there are benefits that offset the perceived risks of isolation.

Alex said...

You won't believe if I say that I started blogging when I lost my Job. It was the most depressed time in my life. Thanks to beat depression resources and blogs. I must say that they helped me a lot.