In modern life, writing as a practice is not very popular among people in their spare time. Professionals associate it with work emails and presentations; parents might not always see the point of making time for it, and students think of it as an assignment.
For many people, it is connected to the daunting tasks they never enjoy. For example, endless essays and opinion pieces in college or high school. Students spend nights working on them and staring at a blank space in a document hoping it will fill itself somehow.
Surely, writing academic papers is rarely a fun practice. It also requires advanced skills that many students do not possess, which makes it even harder. Fortunately, there is a way to make it seamless. Helping resources like WritePaper offer excellent advice, practical tips, and assistance for college students struggling with written assignments. Can I write my paper with WritePaper writers on my side? Yes, you can. They will help with proofreading, editing, or writing it in no time.
But writing in itself doesn’t have to be a negative experience. In reality, it is a very useful practice that offers many mental and physical health benefits.
When done right, it can be a perfect outlet for emotions and a way to more clarity and peace.
Expressive Writing and Journaling
These are two main types of practices used by people to feel better. They are slightly different but have a lot in common, specifically the benefits they offer.
The main idea for both is to let one express their emotions or thoughts freely in a safe way. There is also creative writing, which includes fiction, poetry, lyrics, and many other forms. It is also very helpful for the human psyche.
In these cases, writing is used to self-express, create, and gain more emotional stability. It helps to untangle the train of thoughts, reduce anxiety, and stay more mindful.
Expressive writing is focused on emotions and is often used in therapy, especially when dealing with traumatic events. However, journaling is more regular and allows working with daily emotions and reactions.
Now, let’s discuss how exactly these practices can help.
Benefits of Writing
One of the main advantages of this activity is that one can get mental clarity about what has been bothering them. It works similar to the therapy talking – when you have to express emotions, you can organize them in a more logical way.
Finding the ways to articulate them helps to get insights into what was on one’s mind. If a person feels overwhelmed or anxious for seemingly no reason, it might be a great sign to start.
Overall, it helps to be more aware of feelings and ideas. As a result, a person can become calmer and make better decisions. It is a way to better process information, especially when otherwise it seems impossible.
Expressing feelings is not always easy. And if people try to hold them back, they will bottle up and cause even more damage. Nevertheless, it is important to express feelings for mental and physical well-being, as it helps to cope in a balanced way.
Whether it is something positive or negative, putting it on paper is as effective as talking to someone. And if there is no one you want to talk to about it or trust enough, journaling or free-writing are the ways to go.
It is a safe place where you can stop withholding yourself and find the exact words you need to. This is especially great for complex emotions or painful experiences. For example, if you need to let negative words out, it is much better to do it on paper or on the phone; it doesn’t really matter. No one gets hurt, but you can an instant relief as you do not have to keep it inside.
And after you’ve journaled about it, it might become something more organized to share and connect with others.
In 2018, the British Journal of Health Psychology published a study on the connection between writing and self-esteem. The results showed that people who practiced expressing their feelings experienced a boost in their self-esteem.
The same study found that fiction writers gained higher results than non-fiction authors. So if self-esteem and confidence are something you are willing to work on, this can also be the start of your writing career in fiction.
How are these things connected? First, focusing on your emotions and experiences helps to feel better about yourself. It gives an opportunity to reflect on them and be more grateful for the lessons learned.
And if a person chooses to share their works and get compliments on them, it helps with confidence and motivation to continue.
Generally, it is an introspective activity that allows finding time for yourself. And the act of creation helps to feel more satisfied and fulfilled.
Emotional writing allows healing through processing emotions in a healthy way. It provides:
- Release of tension of bottled up thoughts;
- Better mood;
- Stress reduction;
- Help with symptoms of anxiety and depression;
- Review and understanding of past experiences;
- Reflection on those for healing;
- A broad picture of yourself as a person.
In a way, it is about self-discovery. And by understanding yourself, you can learn to understand others better. One can also reflect on their life story and heal from painful experiences.
Mental and physical states are two parts of overall well-being. Not surprisingly, journaling has some benefits for physical health as well, for instance:
- It can boost the immune system;
- Reduce asthma symptoms;
- Help patients with arthritis;
- Increase the speed of wounds’ healing.
It is not yet clear exactly how it is connected. But the studies by Pennebaker and Keith Petrie proved that people practising expressive writing experience these effects and visit doctors less than people who do not.
How to Start
There are several ground rules to start your journey in recreational writing. These are:
- Find time. It is not a must to journal every day. But try to find 15-20 minutes a couple of times a week at least;
- Try different methods. There are several ways to do it. Try them and see what works best for you.
- Quiet place. Find the place where you can be at peace while writing. Preferably alone, so it is easier to focus.
- Do not edit. Never edit while you are doing it. It is not about being grammatically correct or stylistically elegant. It is about candidly expressing emotions.
- Do not re-read right after. Some people never re-read the notes; others prefer to do it. Whatever is your way, do not get to the reading right after you are done typing. Give it time to calm and settle down.
- Be creative. There are no limits – it is your creative space. Write whatever you want or feel like, whether it is a poem, short story, journal entry, or free stream of consciousness.
Journaling can be an extremely helpful way to process emotions, reduce stress, and be more mindful. It serves as a safe outlet to put everything on paper instead of holding it in. It boosts self-esteem, promotes creativity, and helps heal both mentally and physically.