Cupid has got to be behind this synchronistic web discovery. Just hours before St. Valentine’s Day I found a link to a PsyBlog post explaining that Affectionate Writing Can Reduce Cholesterol.
Previous posts here have explained how writing about trauma is good for your health, and also that writing about happy stuff is good for you. But love letters and affectionate notes had not made the list, and I have not previously seen reduced cholesterol linked with any form of expressive writing. This is great news!
Based on the simple report on PsyBlog, this study appears to be among the hundreds of variations on the Pennebaker research model that has people write for about twenty minutes on three to five occasions:
According to new research, writing down affectionate thoughts about close friends and family can reduce your cholesterol levels. Floyd et al. (2007) randomly assigned participants to one of two groups: one experimental and one control. The experimental group wrote with affection about one person in their lives for 20 minutes on three occasions over a five-week period. The control group wrote mundane descriptions of their activities over the week, jobs they had done and places they had lived.
(read full article)
Note that the experiment involved writing three times. I’m inclined to think that writing to more people, more often could amplify the results and have the same stress-reducing effect as keeping a Gratitude Journal. This could be worth turning into a habit or way of life!
Write now: pen a loving note to a special person in your life. For best results repeat often, at least once a week. You may get even stronger results by using pen and paper rather than sending an e-mail!
Picture: Sharon Lippincott © 2011