Dr Mosley shares writing could help boost your immune system

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Between masks and social distancing, the Covid pandemic has taken a toll on immunity. Without any restrictions in place, many people are now easily falling ill with various bugs and viruses. From vitamin C to a healthy diet, there are many ways to boost your immune system, but Dr Michael Mosley has proposed a completely “free” practice that could help.

Speaking on his podcast Just One Thing, the doctor said: “I do love writing in my day job as a journalist and an author. 

“But today, sitting at my computer, I’m going to try something very different.

“What I’m writing now is not for publication, or for sharing with anyone else. It’s called expressive writing.”

While this technique is hidden behind a fancy name, it just requires pen and paper or your computer.

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“The idea is you put aside 15 minutes to write about your deepest emotions and the thoughts you have about things that are keeping you up at night,” the doctor explained.

This “free, fast, easy” practice could not only make you feel less worried but also benefit your immune system.

Recent research has shown some “surprising” benefits of this practice on physical health.

Dr Mosley said: “Researchers in New Zealand, for example, asked a group of medical students to write about personal traumatic events the day before they were vaccinated. 

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“Amazingly, six months after receiving the vaccine, these students had a stronger immune response and far higher antibody levels than a control group, who merely had the vaccine.”

Speaking on the podcast, Professor James Pennebaker, from the University of Texas, Austin, also backed the effects of expressive writing on immunity.

“When a person writes about an upsetting experience, you find certain enhancements in immune activity, [showing] that the immune system is working more efficiently,” the guest expert said.

The professor shared that on the flip side, being stressed and obsessing about things can make your heart beat faster and suppress your immune system.

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This could explain how a practice designed to make your worry less could be beneficial for immunity.

What’s more, expressive writing should be quite easy to incorporate to your daily routine.

All you need to do is set aside three or four days a week to sit down and write for about 10 minutes.

Professor Pennebaker added: “The only rule I have is to write continuously. Don’t worry about grammar, or sentence structure, or spelling.

“Experiment and see what works best for you.”

If you find a few minutes in your day but don’t have anything you could use for writing, you could give “finger writing” a try.

The professor explained that this is just writing with your finger in the air, which could also work “quite well”. 

Dr Mosley concluded that trying this practice could benefit your brain, relationships, as well as your physical health.

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