We have our own ways to counter stress. Most of us try to channelize our energies into a particular activity, hoping to have a product that is satisfying or make us feel good which will, in turn, help us overcome the stress.
On such activity, called writing therapy, mostly in the form of blogging, is fast gaining traction as one of the easiest and powerful ways to cope stress. A study titled, Coping through blogging: A review of studies on the potential benefits of weblogs for stress reduction, published in Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, found some potential benefits of blogging and how it can help a person cope stress better.
What is stress?
The term ‘stress’ was coined by Hungarian Hans Selye in 1936 and he defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. It can also be defined as a reaction to a situation (perceived as threat, mostly) when we believe that we do not have the resources (emotional and physical) to confront it. So we try to either change the stress-inducing situation or reduce the feeling of stress. And therapies are one of the ways to cope with such feelings.
Why blogging is a stress-buster
Blogging includes writing blog posts, reading blog posts of others, receiving and writing comments. Compared to traditional pen-and-paper journals, blogs offer a number of additional possibilities. The study argues that, “ this opens up new possibilities for social support, which can take the form of emotion oriented empathetic comments (e.g. expressing solidarity, understanding or encouragement) or problem oriented comments (e.g. additional information, alternative explanations, possible solutions).”
The study also found that receiving empathetic comments and reading others’ blogs creates a feeling of being understood and supported by a community.
Bloggers also appreciate the open, non-stigmatizing and anonymous way of the online experience, helping them open up better and in the process, share information and feel better.
One of the more interesting findings was that, “even though writing publicly about private matters might generally feel unusual at first, the amount of social attention received seem to outweigh these risks. One study reports a risk of being encouraged by blogging to continue to be a member of a suffering community instead of finding a solution.”
In studies focusing on bloggers with specific problems, voluntary bloggers reported blogs to be an effective means of stress reduction.
Research on the general use of blogging has shown that writing is not something that comes naturally, and it can even be considered stressful in itself.
Also, harsh criticism and negative feedback can derail the process of coping.
Petko, D., Egger, N., Schmitz, F. M., Totter, A., Hermann, T., & Guttormsen, S. (2015). Coping through blogging: A review of studies on the potential benefits of weblogs for stress reduction. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace