Writing can make you feel better, discover the reasons, and get inspired to start and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of writing!
Writing is a therapeutic tool for people who may not necessarily feel like talking about their problems. Writing has been used since the beginning of time as a way to communicate with others by telling stories. According to Pennebaker, therapeutic writing is defined as writing about one's deepest thoughts and feelings about traumatic experiences or emotional upheavals. In his book "Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions," Pennebaker explains that expressive writing can help people better understand their emotions, and increase analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, which in turn can improve mental and physical health.
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Health benefits of writing
The therapeutic benefits of writing are well-documented. Writing about traumatic, stressful, or emotional events has been found to result in improvements in both physical and psychological health, in non-clinical and clinical populations.
Here are some health benefits that you can get from writing:
Lowers blood pressure
Decreases levels of stress
Increases mood regulation and coping skills
Reduces visits to physicians
Enhances sleep quality
Why is it so therapeutic?
When you write, you can simply let your thoughts flow without having to worry about the structure of your writing or the words you're using. Writing allows you to get your thoughts and feelings down on paper, which will help you feel clearer-headed. You can write about anything troubling you. Writing about your problems and negative emotions can help you work through them and get a fresh perspective.
Once your thoughts are down in words, you can decide what to do next. You can tear it up and throw it away, share it with someone who will listen and understand, or keep it somewhere safe, like a journal or diary. The writing has done its job of releasing feelings and thoughts.
If you feel like writing but aren't sure where to start, one thing that I have found helpful is to start with a list of simple questions. Then just write answers to each question. It doesn't matter how long your answer is, just write as much as you want or need.
"I also had the satisfaction of receiving frequent letters and emails from people whose lives had changed because of their using expressive writing." – James W. Pennebaker, Social Psychologist
Simple questions to ask yourself to help you start writing
- What am I feeling? (e.g., sad, angry, frustrated)
- What has happened today?
- What things are making me feel good?
- What things are making me feel bad? Is there anything that can be done?
- What do I want? (e.g., attention, friendship)
- Who am I angry with? (You could write a letter to them explaining how you feel.)
- Who do I miss? (You could write a letter explaining who you miss, and why you miss that person.)
- Who do I love? Why?
-Is there anything else in life that I want to accomplish?
-How can I improve to be a role model for others?
As you can see, the ideas are endless. You only need a piece of paper and a pencil. Or, if you are more inclined to use technology, there are apps that you can download to your phone to start writing from anywhere.
After you are done writing, remember that writing is a means of expressing ourselves when we feel unable to do so otherwise. It's an opportunity for self-exploration and growth - even if no one ever reads what we've written.
In conclusion, writing has powerful therapeutic benefits. It allows you to better understand why you are mad, sad, or happy - and how you can most productively deal with the person, situation, or emotion that is making you feel upset. Writing about your feelings is the cornerstone of many self-help programs and thought processes. I think, then, that it is important to recognize the therapeutic benefits of writing and to keep writing for the same reasons we eat, sleep, work and dream: because it is essential to our well-being.
If you liked this post, leave a comment below. And as always, follow a healthy lifestyle and come back for the next topic.
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