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Writing as Therapy: How Writing Can Make You Feel Better

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’

  • Maya Angelou

The act of putting pen to paper has been used for centuries to capture thoughts and feelings. Now studies suggest that as little as 20 minutes of writing could improve both physical and mental health. Writing is a versatile therapeutic tool that can be used by individuals to define their emotional state. Therapists frequently use journaling as part of their counseling toolkit. Here are a number of ways in which writing can boost your well-being.

Heal From Traumatic Or Stressful Experiences

Writing about traumatic events for as little as 15 minutes over 5 sessions leads individuals to report a variety of health benefits. Mental health benefits include fewer stress-related incidents or depressive episodes, while physical health ranges from lower blood pressure to better immune system functions. Capturing that traumatic incident on paper can help you heal in a number of ways.

See Things From A Different Perspective

Jotting down your feelings and recounting events can help you see things in a different light. As you write down events that had negative connotations, perhaps it's easier to see the positives of a, particularly bad experience. You might find you discover something new about yourself or even see the situation from a different perspective. Writing therapy provides a reflective element that allows you to re-evaluate certain life events.

Express Yourself In A Clear Way

When we feel down, it can be difficult to share our feelings. Writing allows you to express yourself in a clear way, and clarify what is bothering you. As you begin writing as therapy, you can also spill out your innermost thoughts onto a page in a free manner. Speaking about your feelings can be daunting, and you may fear judgment from people. Writing is a good starting point to help you get to the crux of your emotions in a clear way.

Reap The Health Benefits

Writing for a short period of time can boost your physical wellbeing too. Writing therapy participants report better lung and liver function and a higher functioning immune system. Patients with long-term IBS that participated in writing therapy reported reduced symptoms and in general had fewer hospital trips or GP visits. Research shows that writing is actually good for your physical health.

Improve Your Memory

Writing is an excellent way to improve your cognition and memory. It stimulates the brain and can improve focus, problem-solving skills, and reasoning capabilities. Studies show that writing on paper can lead to improved memory recall. Putting pen to paper has a variety of cognition benefits that train your brain to act more quickly.

Writing as therapy can help clarify your emotions, recover from traumatic events and train your brain to be more agile. Yet the physical benefits are also extremely important - from a reduction in stress-related health conditions to improved liver function. Writing as therapy can help our brains and bodies feel better.

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