Thanks to all who responded to my request for your input on the mental health benefits of blogging. I’m working on an article for Psychreg on the therapeutic value of blogging, but also wanted to give you an overview of people’s responses. I put on my pretend researcher hat and coded your responses, and here are some of the most common themes that emerged, grouped by overarching theme.
The notation “N=” indicates how many people’s responses reflected each theme.
Theme #1: Interactions with others
- Sense of community (N=10)
- Being able to relate to others with similar experiences (N=7)
- Feeling not alone (N=7)
Blogging is an excellent way to access informal peer support, which in turn is a valuable way to reduce self-stigma. Simply knowing that there are other people out there who are not “normal” in the same way that you’re not “normal” is a very powerful thing.
Theme #2: Self-oriented and writing process benefits
- Venting/release/catharsis (N=8)
- Better recognizing/understanding/processing own thoughts/feelings (N=7)
- Easier to express thoughts and feelings in writing than by speaking (N=7)
Mental illness can make things confusing inside the head. Writing is a way to get that messiness out in a semi-structured way, which can allow for both release and insight.
Theme #3: Having a safe space separate from “real life”
- Being myself and being able to express myself freely (N=5)
- Not wanting to upset others in “real life” (N<5)
- Having a safe space (N<5)
Real life often comes with the need to mask, keeping the mentally ill aspect suppressed and putting on a socially acceptable display instead.
Theme #4: Time spent blogging
- Accomplishing something (N<5)
- Positive way to spend time (N<5)
- An escape, something to look forward to, something to commit to (N<5)
This has been huge for me, especially since my mental health nursing career ended due to disability. Blogging is a meaningful, mentally stimulating way to spend one’s time, yet it can be adapted to one’s needs, abilities, and deficits in ways that work generally wouldn’t be able to.
Thanks to everyone for your input! You can read my full article on the therapeutic value of blogging on Psychreg.
For tips on blogging, check out the Regular Blogger’s Guide to Blogging.
The Reflecting on Powerful Words guided journal matches amazing quotes from people like Maya Angelou and Winston Churchill with prompt questions that relate to each quote as well as beautiful images. It’s available free from the MH@H Download Centre.