Some of us are great at writing, and some of us admit we’re terrible. And in between, there’s a group who have some skills, but grammar, syntax and creativity really aren’t their friends.

Well, regardless of where we see ourselves on the ‘writer’s scale’, we should all be writing.

Why?

Because there are many health benefits of writing.

Did you know that writing has been scientifically proven to improve your health? Click To Tweet

Journaling — a different kind of writing

Journaling (aka keeping a diary) is an ancient practice. Many successful and famous figures from history kept diaries, journals and wrote letters. And today, they provide a fascinating insight into their lives, and the social and political structure of the day.

But other than keeping a record of events, writing has been scientifically proven as being beneficial to your health

Health benefits of writing

Good for the mind and soul

Expressive writing (i.e. writing about traumatic or emotional experiences) has been linked to a host of benefits. One of the major health benefits of writing about stressful or unexpected life developments is that it can help you cope with the emotional fallout of such events. It can help you:

  • Manage anxiety

  • Reduce stress

  • Cope with depression

  • Proritise problems, fears and concerns

  • Track symptoms and identify anxiety or depression triggers

  • Identify negative thoughts and behaviours, and turn them into positive ones.

It has also been shown to improve problem-solving skills, working memory, sporting performance, and academic performance. Pretty impressive, hey?

Good for the body

If that’s not enough, writing regularly can also improve your physical health. Studies have shown putting pen to paper (or fingers to a keyboard) can lead to:

  • Improved immune system

  • Reduced blood pressure

  • Improved lung function, including reduced symptoms of asthma

  • Reduced symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

  • Improved liver function.

Writing regularly is good for the body and the mind. Who would have thought? Click To Tweet

Why does it work?

Scientists are still unclear as to why we receive physical health benefits from writing. However, the emotional benefits relate to how we use our brain during the writing process.

When we write, we access the left side of our brain — the analytical and rational part. While this side is occupied, our right side is free to create, feel and understand. Writing seems to help remove mental blocks, and allows us to access our brains in order to better understand ourselves, those around us, and the world in which we live.

How can you benefit?

The good news is you don’t have to be talented to reap the health benefits of writing, nor do you have to make your writing public. Experts recommend you:

  • Write every day — even if it’s only for a few minutes

  • Make the process easy — use pen and paper, or use a computer

  • Write what comes to mind — there is no structure, or rules to follow

  • Forget about formalities — don’t worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab a pen and a notebook and start your journey to a healthier body and mind today.

Cheers
Nerissa

References:

University of Rochester Medical Center, Journaling for Mental Health

Psych Central, The Health Benefits of Journaling

Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, Writing about emotions may ease stress and trauma

Karen A. Baikie, Kay Wilhelm, Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment Sep 2005, 11 (5) 338-346; DOI: 10.1192/apt.11.5.338

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