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writing

3 Reasons Writing Is Great
For Your Mental Health

By Sophia Clark

In this day and age, people have gravitated towards text messages as compared to actual writing. However what most people don’t know is that writing has its benefits. Research has shown that writing boosts your mental health. It is with this in mind that I came up with the following reasons as to why writing is good for your mental well-being.

1. Happiness
Writing makes you happy. It’s great to your overall health and well-being. Research carried out by South Methodist University found out that writing about future objectives makes you healthier, happier, and more focused. Research on writing and happiness focuses more on expressive writing. It has been linked to improved moods, reduction in symptoms among cancer patients, and the improvement in the individuals’ health after a heart attack. Blogging can also be termed as therapeutic.

Writing down thoughts in a journal can assist those with demanding jobs to handle the pressure. Researchers are of the opinion that when we write and edit our personal stories, we can alter our opinions about ourselves and eventually pinpoint obstacles that are a hindrance to better health.

The research was carried out by Stanford University on African-American students who had difficulties in adjusting to college. The students were requested to make a video or write an essay focusing on college life to be seen by future students. According to the findings, those students who took part in the video making or essay writing got better grades in the end as compared to those who didn’t participate.

In another research, some married couples were asked to write about a certain conflict. They were acting as neutral observers. Among the 120 couples present, the ones that used writing to explore their problems demonstrated improvement in happiness as compared to those who didn’t write about their marital problems.

2. It Clears your Head
When working on your computer, are there times when you have many internet tabs open at once? How does your screen look? Confused, right? That’s how our brain feels like when we have so many tabs open at once. This is often a result of attempting to deal with too many thoughts at the same time.

Writing has been known to be a way of formatting your head. It gives form to your ideas, and you can get them out of your mind, therefore freeing up more space and preventing you from crashing your ‘browser.'

An empty mind is:

  • Relaxed – It promotes well-being.
  • Aware – It embraces the present.
  • Peaceful – It doesn’t think about the same things.
  • Energized

In this case, one way of writing can be:

  • Choose a time of the day when you can be free for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Have a pen and some paper. Scrap papers will be suitable because when youare finished writing, you can get rid of them immediately.
  • Once you’ve started writing, don’t stop. Write everything that comes to your head quickly and furiously. You should not censor anything, even if what you want to write seems shocking.
  • After writing for at least ten minutes, stop. Take a break of around five minutes.
  • Walk around a bit.
  • Then go and read carefully what you have written. After that, destroy the notes. Destroying immediately after reading convinces you that it's acceptable to write everything on paper.

3. Gratitude
Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation. According to a particular research carried out, subjects who wrote about the good things in their lives were motivated and more positive about their present situations. The trick was that they had to write once a week.

Research done by Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California, showed that gratitude is not only a positive emotion, but it also improves overall health. But if people had written about their gratitude every day, the final benefits would have been less. This is because any activity done often might end up becoming boring. For you to create a good piece of writing to show gratitude, the following tips are recommended:

  • Do not set a limit on what to write per week - there are times when you will be able to fill a page and times when you will be staring atblank pages. It is imperative that you don’t put yourself under pressure to adhere to the same amount of pages.
  • Don’t just write for the sake of it. Make a decision to be deliberately more grateful. You should believe in what you’re writing.
  • Your focus should be on people rather than objects.
  • Do not wait for the correct time. Whenever you feel like writing, go ahead. Even if it’s past bedtime.
  • Explaining why you are grateful allows you to explore your feelings further. You should make it clear as to why you are giving thanks for what you have mentioned. It could be your parents for paying your college tuition fees or even your friend for taking you out and having fun the day you passed your final exam.
  • It’s important that you don’t rush with the writing. Take your time. Relish every word.
  • Creativity is crucial.
  • Don’t write the same thing every time.
  • The journal should include positive things. Make sure you keep out the negative events.

Conclusion
The above mentioned are just but some of the ways in which writing can help you improve your mental health. It is, therefore, important that you free up some time in your life for regular writing.

Are there any other reasons that we have left out? Feel free to share them with us!

Sophia Clark graduated from the University in the City of New York with B.A. in Journalism, 2011. She is a creative writer from New York who loves to share her thoughts with readers. In her free time she enjoys writing fiction as well as reading it. Her big dream is to publish a novel one day. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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