As a mental health writer, I feel passionate about the ways that writing is good for my well-being. Writing allows me to get my feelings out on paper (well…on to a screen). I also feel like it can help you! Writing is used in therapy because it can help to identify thinking patterns, but you do not necessarily need a therapist for that.
Writing in a journal can help you express yourself. Your thoughts, your feelings, your needs, your desires. I like to write songs, essays, blog articles, and more. But it is journaling that really allows me to put my deepest thoughts in front of me. This also allows me to gain perspective on the things that bother me or cause me excessive worry and anxiety. Writing for mental health is highly beneficial for me and I believe it could help you too!
Writing is a Mindfulness Technique
Just writing for a little bit each day can help you be mindful. I also like to meditate, but I have found that I get the same benefit from writing if I am just writing something that I do not have to think about too much. By focusing on the present, you can leave your worries and troubles behind, even if it is only for a half hour or so.
I like to try to use the time spent writing in a journal to keep track of my progress with my mental health (or lack of progress in some instances). I can write down triggers for anxiety, emotions (both negative and positive), and behaviors that are related to my mental state. When you write, I suggest you remain completely honest to yourself if you want to learn new things about your thought and behavior patterns. If you are trying to be mindful, try to write without constriction and allow your thoughts to flow out. For mindful writing, I find it better to write with a pen on paper because when I mess up on a computer I immediately and subconsciously hit the backspace to correct. I do not do that when I am writing on paper.
Writing Can Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is our ability to understand and manage our own emotions in a healthy way. Sometimes it is difficult for me to manage my emotions when I am having anxiety. When I have anxious thoughts running through my head like a locomotive, it is hard to even attempt to keep my emotions in tact.
Writing helps gain perspective on my thoughts and emotions. I can allow myself to be angry or upset while writing. Then, when I go back to interacting with people, I can manage my emotions better. I have also found that I can learn how to replace my negative emotions with positive ones by writing them out. This improved my ability to cope with negative feelings.
Writing Can Help Your Organize Your Thoughts
When I have anxiety, my thoughts run in every direction and many seem unrelated.
Writing helps me keep track of different tracks of thinking. I can put them down on paper so that I do not have to worry about my anxiety taking my behavior away from where it should remain. I am able to properly prioritize. This helps me lower my stress and anxiety levels. It also allows me to accept the negative thought patterns that affect me. Over time, I am able to let these negative thoughts go and watch them disappear into nothingness.
How to Start Writing in a Journal
If you haven’t written since you were in college, or even high school, then you may not know how to begin. First, remember that any amount of writing can be beneficial. Even starting with 5 minutes each day can help you get used to it and get your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper.
You also do not have to write about any certain thing. I know what you are thinking. You don’t want to write about what you did that day. I don’t blame ya. Instead, write what you want whether it is poetry, stories, philosophy, or periodic ramblings of a mad man.
Another tip is to always remember that your thoughts are private. Nobody will read your writing unless you actually want them to. This idea should help you avoid the dreaded writers block. Sticking to a routine can also help. Whether you like to write each morning, evening, during lunch, or in the middle of the night, sticking with it can help your mind adjust.
Let me know if writing for mental health is something that benefits you in the comment below!