Blogging was once thought to be a flash in the pan, a fad that would die the way MySpace has. But blogs have endured, they have grown. It seems like everyone has a blog or at least has had one at some point. Some people have had several – I have had about five. You cast them off as you grow and evolve like outgrown coats.
The benefits of blogging
Blogging is a brilliantly versatile medium – it can be used to build your business, network, find jobs, enhance your career prospects and support your hobbies. A blog is a place where small seeds can blossom into marvelous trees – novels, short stories, poems, scripts. A blog can be a space for showcasing your photography or artwork, or even your tattooing or hair cutting skills. Blogging is also a way to reach out and make contact with the outside world whether it’s through receiving the odd comment on your posts or through becoming part of a blog network where people visit and comment on each other’s sites.
Many people simply use their blogs as a means of expressing themselves – like an online journal where you can share your thoughts and feelings. I used mine when I was studying as a way of clarifying my academic thoughts – rather like making notes for an essay I guess.
But now researchers in Taiwan have shown that blogging really can increase your health and happiness. Previous studies had already showed the therapeutic value of keeping a journal or a diary. Putting our thoughts and fears on the page takes their power away and stops worries swimming around in our heads. Julia Cameron talks in her book The Artist’s Way about how writing a regular journal (what she calls “morning pages”) can increase not only your sense of well being but also your up your creativity levels.
Health and happiness
Researchers Ko and Kuo studied students between the ages of 16 and 22. They discovered that those who maintained a personal blog experienced positive benefits such as feeling more socially integrated, improved intimate relationships and feeling more connected to society and those outside their own social network. Of course this increase confidence has a knock on effect – in all areas of their life enabling them to make friends more easily and feel more confident about applying for regular and voluntary sector jobs. Blogging can be especially useful to those suffering from depression, mental health issues, or for those with long term medical problems such as MS, Chrohn’s Disease or ME. Blogging adds an extra element to the diary experience by allowing us to share our thoughts, feelings and fears with others. This means that the blogger doesn’t feel so alone and might also gain support and understanding from people who are experiencing similar things themselves. Blogging can also enable the writer to disclose things about themselves to friends and family that they might struggle with communicating face to face, or conversely if a family is unsupportive then it can be a lifeline for reaching out to people who understand.
“It’s funny how you can really, truly believe that you are the only person that has had these experiences and the only person that feels so confused and lonely but in actual fact there are so many people out there who can relate!”
- Image credit Cheap photos