Number 62 in our countdown of '70 Ways Art Improves Our Health' highlights how expressive writing helps us recover from injury...

It’s widely accepted that creative writing can help us ease our emotional trauma and improve our mood. But studies show that this type of expressive writing, in which we express our deepest thoughts and feelings, can also boost our physical health.

Over several decades, studies have consistently found that expressive writing helps our wounds to heal faster. The most recent, a 2017 study in New Zealand, asked 122 people to write emotionally about past stressful events. At the same time, a control group were asked to write about straightforward, day-to-day activities.

Two weeks later, both groups underwent a small biopsy on their arm and the healing of the wounds was monitored.

After 10 days, results showed that 52% of the people who had written expressively before the biopsy were healed, while only 15% in the day-to-day writing group had healed.

Nobody is sure exactly why creative writing helps to heal our injuries but the evidence is clear. It isn't used in clinical settings very often but maybe it should be!

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