Written By Jessica Fender / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Not so long ago, writing on paper by hand was a common everyday activity. People used to journal, write notes, lists, exchange handwritten letters with friends, business partners, and loved ones. Admittedly, written communication takes more time and is less convenient, but there are reasons to believe that in some cases, in abandoning handwriting in favor of typing on a keyboard we end up losing something important.
Psychologists have long understood that keeping personal, emotion-centered recordings helps people become aware of their feelings, come to terms with them. Back in the 1980s, studies showed that “writing therapy” in which patients typically wrote down their feelings every day for 15 to 30 minutes, can provide tangible benefits to physical and mental health. This includes everything from reducing stress, battling symptoms of depression to improving immunity.
If you wish to know more about how writing can influence our minds, stick around!
Therapeutic Effects of Writing
Writing is a mindful process, which helps us become more focused, centered, relaxed, and composed. Here are a few other ways in which writing can affect you.
Writing is an activity which:
Makes you less anxious and stressed.
Establishing how describing the problem or situation on paper affects the ability to resolve it is not an easy task. There are a number of studies that confirm the importance of describing stressful situations, either orally or in writing, which help with a better understanding of them, finding a way out of the prevailing circumstances.
One interesting study involving a group of people who were recently fired showed that those participants who regularly wrote in their diary about what happened were able to find other jobs faster than the rest of the group.
Additionally, those of them who wrote down their thoughts and feelings about being fired experienced less hostility towards their former employers. They also appeared to be dealing with their stress faster and in healthier ways than other participants. Curiously, in the early stages of the study, writing down problems made the participants even more depressed. This continued for the first six months until their emotions began to settle down.
Evidently, healing, working through your issues takes time, so it's not surprising that writing isn't a magical solution to stress and anxiety. Regardless, the effects of writing over time are quite apparent and give us hope that even such a simple process, when added to our routine, can benefit us greatly.
Makes you more calm, peaceful, and happy.
There is a lot of literature out there that describes how we benefit from expressing our thoughts and feelings on paper. Most of us are familiar with the fact that writing down life goals, dreams and wishes is very helpful for self-motivation. Some even think that such manifestation can help to make them true.
Whether you believe in that or not, it’s hard to deny that writing serves as a form of self-expression, which carries therapeutic benefits regardless of how it’s done. Writing down one's thoughts can improve mood, well-being, and resilience to negative emotions when done regularly.
Psychologists who prescribe journaling believe that simply describing dreams, future plans on paper have the power of making people happier, healthier, more content with their life. There is also a lot of evidence to support the fact that keeping a gratitude journal helps us notice positive things in life more easily, as well as let them affect us deeper.
Despite this, many people do not believe in the benefits of keeping a personal journal. You may ask why not? Most likely because they do not fully understand the significance of this process, as well as are afraid of giving their thought a physical confirmation – curiously, this idea is unsettling to many.
“Unloads” the brain.
Imagine working in a browser with too many tabs open. It can be pretty distracting, interferes with your concentration, doesn’t let you swiftly find what you are looking for, and as a result can cause irritation, even stress. Something similar happens to your brain when you try holding too many thoughts in your head at once.
Writing, however, releases your thoughts, unburdens your brain, which, being unencumbered, can operate more smoothly and efficiently without making you stressed. Also, you don't have to worry about forgetting something important if your thoughts and ideas are written down.
Helps with a positive outlook.
Concentration on positive events leads to the formation of positive attitudes – it is as simple as that. Once you record happy, cheerful moments in life, you start to notice them more, become more positive about the present, as well as develop better feelings about the future. Interestingly, psychologists suggest keeping such records once a week, but not daily, as it reduces the positive effect.
Thinking too much about the positive events, trying to find them in every passing day, can become tedious and repetitive, while the events will appear to be rarer than they are. Still, noting pleasant moments in life is helpful, as it allows you to understand what exactly makes you happy. Try being Pollyanna for a single month and sample positive effects yourself!
Writing helps keep your mental capacity in good shape.
Writing is like yoga for the mind, which means that it will help you remain in good mental shape at any age. Just as friendship makes you happy and healthy through social interaction and communication, writing has a similar effect by forcing a person to constantly reflect on their life, training their recollection, thus keeping their brain sharp.
Writing that Causes Distress
Despite many positive effects of writing, one should understand that not all types of writing come with such nice bonuses. There are times when writing can cause tremendous stress and anxiety. We are of course talking about academic writing or writing for work, as it often makes people forcibly eject thoughts and ideas, which does not always happen lightly.
Remember that it’s important to put your mental health first, and ask for help when it’s needed. Thankfully, there are services that offer tutoring and paper writing to those who require them. Valuable and friendly advice from an expert or a hand with your dreaded writing assignment is sometimes all a person needs to feel at ease again. If this is your case, don’t hesitate to reach out and get assistance if you need it.
Based on all the above, we can safely say that writing is important for mental health and maintaining a good psycho-emotional state. It is curious how such a simple, straightforward activity can have such a diverse effect on a human mind and soul. Practice writing and explore all its benefits for yourself!
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Jessica Fender is a professional writer and educational blogger at GetGoodGrade, an aggregator for useful college resources and websites. Jessica enjoys sharing her ideas to make writing and learning fun.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.