The Personal Benefits of BloggingThose who in dismiss bloggers en masse as more or less useless are already in an indefensible position since the material bloggers produce varies so widely in quality from full of expertise to full of froth.
Now, as reported by Jessica Wapner in the June 2008 issue of Scientific American, there is a move afoot among neuroscientists to investigate why blogging can be positively therapeutic, i.e., why it can help people cope with serious conditions, such as a cancer diagnosis.
Wapner begins by noting that
Scientists (and writers) have long known about the therapeutic benefits of writing about personal experiences, thoughts and feelings. But besides serving as a stress-coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many physiological benefits. Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients, and even speeds healing after surgery. A study in the February issue of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not. [link added]Increasing numbers of hospitals, recognizing the potential therapeutic value of blogging, offer patients an easy way of creating a blog. The platform I've encountered most frequently is CarePages.
As with any online activity, an important aspect of blogging is that the writer in this case, the patient can make his/her posts accessible to others, so that a supportive community of family, old friends, and new friends is brought together.