Healthful Reasons to Write Your Life Story
By Victoria Burgess, director and psychologist
Writing your life story can be very health promoting. It can improve both your physical and emotional health by recalling past experiences and rethinking them through the remembering and writing process.
The physical body stores emotional memories. The only way it knows how to deal with troublesome emotions is to take them out on the physical structure of the body. Most psychologists believe that physical illnesses are psychosomatic. The mind can produce so much toxic stress on body parts that it makes them dysfunctional.
Releasing these past experiences and feelings by writing or telling stories from your life can reduce stress on your physical body, thus allowing it to do what it was designed to do for your physical health. The life review process can be emotionally therapeutic when reflection allows old memories to be revisited and reframed. Reminiscence also encourages increased communication with friends and loved ones and enhances feelings of gratitude, contentment and well being.
About Life Stories
by Marc Johnson, advisor and personal historian
<Photo> Marc Johnson
The power of our life stories is in the life lessons we gain through our experiences. Our stories are unique and reflect the direction of our lives. Sharing our experiences and lessons provides us the opportunity to grow and improve ourselves and our communities.
The most common resistance I hear to preserving a life history is that people think others don’t want to hear about their lives, or that there is nothing of significance in their story to share. While we may never know who will be interested in our life stories, individuals—and the world—might be greatly affected by the strength of our words.
Greater understanding and appreciation of life come through personal reflection. Recording a personal history nurtures focus, clarity, perspective and an enhanced faith in what is important. It provides a starting place to find increased meaning, healing and peace. The experience is different for each of us, but the value of the process is universal.