The paper tries to determine the effects of writing down one’s goals in life on his or her health. This really can be divided in two steps. First we can determine how writing is a healthy activity and second we can show how knowing ones goals in life leads to a balanced and fit living. Then we can merge both the findings and tell the impact that goal writing has on one’s life.
Writing and health
Writing cannot be directly related to health. Well may be you can say that it keeps your blood circulating because when you write your fingers are moving and the blood is circulating well up and forth your arms. But if we try and make a connection through education we might get better points to support our statement. As mentioned by three economists in 1969 in their paper, good health can be achieved by investing more in education then in medical care (Kolata, 2007).
Of course, those who are educated can only read and write. Nevertheless we can also say that people who are uneducated do not even know what goals are and how to lead a life based on achieving those goals. Some of them might have goals like for example a little boy might want to become an engineer when he grows up or a pilot but does he know what he has to do in order to achieve his goals? The answer is no.
Writing is an art. Those who write let the ideas on their mind flow out of it. When people write expressively they let the frustration, the anger, the passion flow out of their body (Wilhelm & Baikie, 2005). Research shows that writing about events which are disturbing, stressful or emotional results in an outflow of negative thoughts from the mind which leads to a healthy physical and mental health (Sheridan & Radmacher, 1992).
In fact expressive writing is being used as a therapy for trauma patients in many parts of the world. Moreover, another research shows that when writing about goals in life is even more effective than expressive writing and leads to subjective fitness (King, 2001).
Dreams, goals and Aspirations
During their lives, people have dreams, aspirations and goals but to achieve them one must know one’s self first. To define what you really want in life is often the hardest step. Here again I would like to emphasize that education of course plays an important role in goal setting. According to Dr. Leras Muney, uneducated people are not very well able to plan for their future (Kolata, 2007). Thus people with education have a better idea of what they want to become in life and how they want their future to be.
First things first, in order to write ones goals, one should have clear and focused goals. Goals can be any from daily life to what you plan to do in one year’s time. Writing down goals helps you achieve a balance in your life. This balance is necessary for happiness and a fit psychological health. Office people for example, who write down their daily activities, are organized and do not face disruptions in daily routines. In turn they get their work done right and get promotions and benefits.
Promotions lead to better financial status, stable relationships, power etc. All these factors in the end lead to one thing and that is mental satisfaction. Of course, people who are mentally satisfied live a healthy life. Thus, we see that writing may not directly be a way to achieve goals, ambitions, happiness or physical and psychological fitness but is surely co related to all of the aforementioned.
Writing, health and goals
Laura king, in 2001 conducted a research on the topic of college students writing about their future plans. Her sample had 81 students who were all undergraduates. The students were divided into four groups. The first group had to write about traumatic events, the second group was asked to write about future plans, the third was asked to write about both topics and the fourth was a control group which was given some non emotional topic. All the groups had to write for twenty minutes every day, for four successive days.
The results that came out were quiet interesting. Laura found out that writing about future plans was more pleasant then writing about traumatic events. Both types of writings were beneficial. The most interesting discovery was that all three groups other than the control group experienced reduced stress and illness about their topics after they have been writing about them. The control group however felt no change. (King, 2001)
Thus it is evident that writing does let us get rid of our stress and organize ourselves for the future. Planning for the future in a written form deprives us of worries and stress and makes our mental condition better.
To put our thoughts and emotions on a piece of paper is one the most important benefits of writing. The only thing that should be kept in mind here is that instead of writing about negative events related to our lives, we should try to focus upon the future. Writing about our dreams, hopes and aspirations bestow upon us the positive benefits of writing; a stable mind and a healthy body.
Sheridan, C. and Radmacher, S. (1992). Health psychology: challenging the biomedical model. Published by Wiley.
King, L. (2001). The Health Benefits of Writing about Life Goals. Article retrieved .. from http://psp.sagepub.com/
Kolata, G. (2007). A surprising secret to a long life: stay in school. The NewYork Times. Article retrieved ..from http://www.sboh.wa.gov/ess/documents/SurprisingSecret.pdf
Wilhelm, K. and Baikie, K. (2005). Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Research paper retrieved ..from http://apt.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/full/11/5/338