How Writing Can Heal Your Mind & Body
According to reports from the American Psychological Association, Millennials are the most stressed out generation in the USA. They report higher average stress levels when compared to other age groups. They are concerned about money and finances, but the political situation in the country was also a big trigger of stress.
How do you cope with stress and anxiety? If you go through online articles, you’ll see many guides recommending meditation, walks in nature, and healthy friendships. Those methods work. However, there’s something else that can help you cope with stress: writing. Believe it not, writing can heal your body and mind.
Through a carefully planned and consistent practice of writing, you’ll notice you’re growing into a stronger, wiser individual. How exactly does writing help? We’ll list 5 points that prove its effects.
Writing Pushes You to Be Honest
The great Dostoevsky wrote: “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
Anyone who’s ever seen a therapist will tell you they got this advice: be honest with yourself. Do not judge your thoughts. When you’re talking to other people, even if it’s a therapist we’re talking about, you’re not free to express yourself without restraints.
If you’re meditating, you can let your thoughts go without judgement. When you return from your meditation, however, it’s easy to go back to the old pattern. Writing can help you to be honest without limits. When you write, you can feel free to tell the truth about your thoughts and actions.
When you start being honest, you’ll be able to forgive yourself. You’ll get real about the way you feel towards other people. You’ll stop allowing them to mistreat you. You’ll be on your way to becoming stronger.
Through Practice, You’re Getting Better
Writing can heal your mind, too. It makes you smarter. The written word is a connection between your mind and the outside world. Sometimes that connection is broken. You can’t express what you think and feel. With practice, your expression becomes smoother and more real.
At the start, it will be difficult for you to identify ideas and put them on paper (or on screen, whatever). As you keep writing every day, however, you’ll notice how the words start to flow. If you’re writing big projects for school or work, you’ll notice how the practice of daily writing helps you cope with them. You’ll come to a point when you stop hiring writing services and you’ll start relying on your own skills.
Writing Gives You Health Benefits
How does writing heal our body? We can search for that answer in psychoneuroimmunology, a field of study focused on the interaction between psychological processes and the immune and nervous systems in the body.
National Institute of Health tested the effects of emotionally expressive writing on women with metastatic breast cancer. Some of the patients, who were more recently diagnosed, showed fewer somatic symptoms. They had significantly fewer medical appointments for their condition. The scientists concluded that the patients can benefit from emotional expression writing during the early stages of their condition.
Whatever health condition you’re going through, write about it. Express your emotions through writing. When you stop hiding them inside, you’ll let them go. You’ll give your body some space to heal.
Writing Helps You Forgive
The actions of other people impact you. Sometimes they hurt you so much that you keep thinking about what they did all night long. Maybe they did you wrong or treated you unfairly. Maybe they didn’t give you the support you needed. Whatever the case was, you’re hurt and full of anger.
Writing can heal you because it helps you find forgiveness. Instead of shutting down and stuffing the anger deep inside, you’re finding the words to express it. When you get realistic, it will be easy to recognize the need for forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes. If the mistake was too big, you should still forgive for your own sake. You can stop seeing that person, but you shouldn’t hold feelings of anger. Put them on paper and let them go.
Writing Helps You Sleep Better
Are you going to bed full of impressions from the day you just went through? That’s what causing insomnia. Your mind is overwhelmed. It wants to process all situations you experienced. If you take the time to write something about these impressions before going to bed, you’ll release yourself from the pressure. You’ll get them out of the system and you’ll be ready to sleep.
How does this help you heal? Well, sleep deprivation causes stress. It also lowers the levels of growth hormone, which is crucial for recovering from injuries. If writing helps you sleep, it indirectly helps your body to heal from actual trauma.
Writing doesn’t hurt. It will take some time for you to turn it into a habit, but stay persistent. You’ll enjoy real benefits if you keep the practice of writing consistent.
Julie Petersen is a blogger from Palo Alto, California. In 2010 she's got her masters degree at Stanford, and now she works as a journalist and a freelance writer.