Dr Brooke Magnanti is a scientist who you might know better as “Belle du Jour“, the £300-an-hour prostitute who wrote such a famous blog it was converted into the TV series, “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” starring Billie Piper. Dr Magnanti was finally “uncovered” in 2009, some six years after she started blogging under her pen name. For all we know, her blogging was somewhat cathartic. She admits she took up her sex work activities simply to fund her way through her PhD at the University of Sheffield. As a well-known scientist in her field of child health, there may well have been some conflict between her two professions.
We can only speculate as to whether her blogging made her feel better, but if the evidence of a new study with cancer patients is anything to go by, it probably did. The new research from Baylor University in Texas shows that men who wrote about their life having been diagnosed with testicular cancer tended to do better overall when they were positive in their daily journal. Testicular cancer is associated with depression – men who get this form of cancer have a tendency to become more depressed than men who get other forms of cancer. But what this research niftily showed was that if men do write about the positive things that happen to them each day, it benefits them not only psychologically, but also with their overall health.
Being positive is one of the best ways of treating cancer we know of. Doctors repeatedly say that when someone has cancer it is often their attitude that determines the success or otherwise of the treatment. But occupational psychologists will also tell you that people who are positive in the workplace tend to be the most productive. In other words happy people tend to be healthy people who work well. And health people tend to be happy people too.
Crucial to the Baylor study was the fact that the men wrote down their daily life experiences – some stuck to the positives while others wrote anything. What the study showed was that if you wrote a blog each day which helped you record your positive experiences of your working day there is a real chance you’d feel more positive about your work. You don’t even have to share this blog; you can make it private if you wish – just between you and your computer. The mere act of recording your daily positives will make you feel happier. And happier people tend to work better and become even happier as a result.
Blogging – even privately – can boost your positive emotions, which in turn will benefit your business. And blogging certainly benefited Dr Magnanti’s writing business…!
- Men with testicular cancer benefit by writing positively about the experience, Baylor study finds (eurekalert.org)
- The 5 Must-read Books for Bloggers in 2011 (problogger.net)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+