Maintaining a healthy body weight, along with strength, stamina and flexibility, is an important aspect of massage-therapist self-care.

New research indicates writing could lead to weight loss.

In the study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, women who wrote about their most important values, like close relationships, music, or religion, lost more weight over the next few months than women who did not have that experience.

“We have this need to feel self-integrity,” says Christine Logel of Renison University College at the University of Waterloo, who cowrote the new study with Geoffrey L. Cohen of Stanford University.

When something threatens your sense that you’re a good person, like failing a test or having a fight with a friend, “We can buffer that self-integrity by reminding ourselves how much we love our children, for example,” she says.

It’s too soon to say whether this could work for everybody; the women in the study didn’t know that writing about values was supposed to help them live better (although they may have wondered why this psychology study required a weigh-in).

“My dream, and my research goal, is to get this to the point where people can do it deliberately to benefit themselves,” Logel says.

In the meantime, she carries around a keychain that reminds her of a value that she considers to be important. And everyone else can do that, too. “There’s certainly no harm in taking time to reflect on important values and working activities you value into your daily life,” Logel says.

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