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Writing workshops and their benefits for seniors

The writing is numerous positive effect. The habit of writing about yourself, whether it’s by journaling your experiences, writing down your dreams, or just a few “morning pages” to start your day, helps with both physical and mental health and well-being. They exercise. he.

Among the main benefits of this type of writing is the ability to organize one’s ideas and feelings. As Monika Bruder, a psychologist who specializes in narrative therapy, explains, “Writing shapes the subject. Work with your thinking“.

“You think and then you write, and then you have to synthesize what you thought,” says Bruder. And he adds that “writing organizes thinking, and thus the one who writes can to understand better“.

On the other hand, when you’re not writing about yourself, but practicing creative writing—inventing stories and often “playing” with words—imagination is stimulated and results are encouraged. mood improvement and raising self-esteem.

The fact is that beyond the benefits that come to people of all ages, writing has special benefits for the elderly. Especially when it is done a Writing workshop.

It is a group space where slogans and activities are suggested, which serve as starting points for the creation of texts. Such workshops are often advertised as “schools” primarily aimed at the study of literary writing, that is, the construction of novels and short stories.

But there are also many other creative writing workshops that are not for those who want to be writers, but for those who want to write simply as form of expression.

The most important benefits are:

1. Promotes social connections and reduces feelings of loneliness

Although writing is a very solitary activity, the group dynamics of the workshop help to socialize, share concerns, create. Connections with other people and reduce the feeling of loneliness that many people experience at the end of life.

This is not due to the simple fact of sharing a space with other people, but – above all – because creative writing helps “not only improve communication skills”, but is also “an ideal tool” express emotions“. Putting emotions into words and sharing them with others is key to these connections.

That’s why group writing helps “Social participation” of the elderly. This is how researchers Irma Hero Sánchez and Antonia Jarvio Fernández from the University of Veracruzana in Mexico explain it. article On Promoting Reading and Writing in Older Adults published last year.

2. Works as a “brain exercise”

Writing in the workshop also acts as mental gymnastics or “neurobics” because it consists of cognitive stimulation exercises that, according to the aforementioned study by Heros and Jarvio, “help Strengthening mental abilities by strengthening connections in the brain”.

So write it Promotes active aging. “Its proper use slows the progression of deterioration and disconnection from the environment,” the text adds. And this ties this point to the previous one, because practicing writing in this way “strengthens social relationships and boosts the self-esteem of those who do it.”

By the way, A learning A study conducted in the United States indicates that writing by hand – that is, with a pencil or pen rather than a keyboard – helps to process and process information and therefore enhances memory and learning.

3. It has therapeutic value

Writing almost always fulfills a therapeutic function. “Many authors make a clear connection between writing and therapy.” explain Also a philologist, María Isabel Alonso Breto, a researcher at the University of Barcelona. This is the quality that stands out first of all when a person writes about himself.

And this writing about oneself can appear in various formats: intimate diary, autobiographical stories, memoirs, letters, etc. Such writing is “good”. Self-scanning tool and a beautiful or painful reminder,” explains philologist Sylvia Adela Cohan in her book Therapeutic Writing (Alba Editorial, 2013).

A few years ago, an Argentinian psychologist conducted A experience A writing workshop with elderly (who were between the ages of 73 and 92 at the time) Holocaust survivors. The findings of the paper indicate that “writing and sharing their writings had the same effect on all participants: positive emotions“.

Not only on a mental level: the group writing exercises also showed Physical health benefits. Specifically, this paper describes how writing improves immune activity and reduces stress and physical discomfort, to the point that it is a “tool to alleviate negative emotional experiences.”

4. Reevaluate knowledge

In many cases, older people avoid new activities because they believe that at this stage of their life it makes no sense to start something that they have never done before.

In the case of writing, the good thing is that it can be something completely new: it can allow Gaining knowledge accumulated over a lifetime. “Do we know the texts we carry inside?” asks writer Laura Devetachi in her book. “Building a reader’s path”.

“Each of us was building a Internal text library Armed with words, songs, stories, sayings, poems, individual, family and collective imagination”.

One of the most valuable activities of writing workshops for seniors is that each person can explore his own “text library” and reassess his knowledge: not only academic or “general culture” knowledge, but – above all – the most common, those acquired as result of experience.

5. Strengthens memory and gives more meaning to life

Writing stimulates memory. Not only if you write blogs or other texts that talk about you; Also those who write fiction are forced Pull the thread of memories to build your texts. As already mentioned, this is very positive because of its “mental gymnastics” effect. But not only for that.

As for the elderly, the emergence of their own memories is of fundamental importance, because “at the last stage of life, Going back is a good part of the presentAs American psychiatrist Arthur Kleinman explained in his book Narratives of Illness.

“Looking back at difficult moments in life is as important to the last stage of the life cycle as dreaming is to teenagers and young adults,” adds the author. That is why it is so common that old people like it Count again and again Outstanding episodes of their lives.

For this reason, a writing workshop can also help older adults find and be able to express the “coherence, dignity, and meaning contained in accumulated account“of life itself.

The British doctor Jonah Heath describes it in these words in a book called “Help to Die” (Katz Editores, 2008), adding that “meaning is constructed from memory and imagination”: that is, the raw material of writing.

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Source: El Diario





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