Whilst it’s always good to talk, writing our thoughts down can be extremely powerful too and can help the mind process traumatic events or major life changes in a positive way. Not only has “writing to heal” been found to improve health and general wellbeing but a report in the paper this weekend said that a group of psychologists have found that blogs are beginning to replace teenage diaries as a choice of outlet after researchers found that writing an online public blog improves children’s self-esteem more than keeping a private journal.
Blogging, they say, helps boost a teenagers confidence and can help them relate better to friends. Opening the blog to comments had an even stronger impact because the writers often got support and advice.
This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I too found that writing a blog not only helped me order my thoughts and find a way of structuring my life in what was a very deep black hole but the support I got from other readers and bloggers and friends who would call after reading was invaluable. It was my form of counselling when all my friends had got a little bit bored of listening to me. I found the fact that there were other people out there willing to listen and advise and it was massively reassuring. It was also important to feel useful by being able to give my advice and support to others going through a difficult period for whatever reason.
Now things have changed again – I can’t write as openly as I’d like at the moment because my ex husband and his new wife read it and it is just exactly that same feeling as when you think your parents or your siblings are reading your diary. This is where the divide between an online diary and a private journal become very different. One is quite simply a lot more private than the other – but I am the one who has put myself in this position so I’ve got to work it out. Should I continue to be honest and upfront and face the consequences or go back to a private journal? I wonder, in years to come whether research will show that those teenagers will regret putting certain issues and truths up on their blog for all to see or whether they will continue to feel that honesty and openness is the way forward in our brave new Facebooky world.