Using Writing As A Tool For Better Mental Health

Poor mental health is becoming almost as pervasive a problem as Covid itself as a result of this pandemic.

With more and more people experiencing traumatic losses, loneliness and unexpected shifts in their lives, it is no surprise that debilitating illnesses such as depression and anxiety are on the rise. To compound the issue, as Ellen Baker, a wellness writer at Eliteassignmenthelp and Ukservicesreviews notes in her latest blog, “normal methods of treatment such as face to face counselling sessions are no longer an option due to social distancing measures.”

So, what can we do to help heal ourselves from the safety of our homes in this situation? Fortunately, writing is not new to the scene as a proven method of therapy, and is often recommended to patients by mental health psychologists.

 

Emotional Release

It’s easy to let negative thoughts stew in our minds whether they are caused by small daily triggers or  larger traumatic life events. Dwelling on these emotions and going over questions in our minds such as “why?” and “what if?” and “what next?” can cause severe anxiety, confuse us further and spiral into far greater levels of negativity, often manifesting itself into physical symptoms such as stomach upsets and headaches too. Releasing these thoughts from the captivity of your brain by putting them down on paper can work brilliantly as a tool for both preventing and treating these symptoms.

Journaling

The most commonly used method of writing for its mental health benefits is journaling. Setting aside 15 to 20 minutes per day to write in a calm and personal space, focusing on expressing your emotions fully and translating your experiences into words can really ease levels of stress and help you comprehend traumatic events. Health expert Lukas Rivers at Revieweal and Essay Services suggests that you “purchase a journal  that you devote specifically to the purpose of self-care, using it regularly to truly focus on yourself without distraction from any other obligations you may have.” Writing down upsetting experiences down in this way can also be a good starting point to help you talk to others and get support with your mental health, since it can be seen as being like a private rehearsal of what you want to say and makes the whole process seem less overwhelming.

 

Mindfulness

Such practice might seem like an expenditure of time that you can’t afford, but it is a valuable exercise that will help you function better during the rest of your day. Free, mindful expression of your feelings will help you confront and process them, also potentially finding solutions to the cause of your problems, thus clearing your mind of anxieties that could otherwise inhibit your positivity, your focus and your energy levels.

 

Self Awareness

When writing down your thoughts, however trivial they may seem, you will develop a sense of self-awareness, especially when you return to read them later. Setting things down on paper will enable you to see a clearer pattern in your own behavior over time, and therefore help you understand how to conquer those patterns. You can only change engrained thought processes if you are able to recognize them in yourself, so writing them down is a perfect method to allow yourself to develop this kind of emotional intelligence. Over time, you will be able to consciously alter your thought processes as you write, knowingly crafting new, more positive  habitual language and self-talk.

 

Exercises & Prompts

To take it even further, you can purposefully practice writing exercises such as gratitude journalling or the planning of how you will tackle future goals and obstacles positively. This kind of writing is extremely beneficial as it pre-empts negativity before it has a chance to appear, and sets you up to succeed before you begin. If you are struggling to get started with this, you can find many on-line resources that will offer writing prompts specifically designed to help you nurture a positive attitude or get to the roots of your feelings with your journaling.

 

There really is nothing to lose in giving writing as a form of self-help therapy a go. It is a free and simple activity that anybody can practice, at their own pace and in their own space. However, always remember that if this is not enough for you, there are many other options available and you should always feel comfortable to reach out to a professional for more advice.

 

In collaboration with Lauren Groff:
Lauren Groff often writes on the topic of mental health at Paper Fellows and Big Assignments, with a particular focus on the benefits of journaling. Alongside her writing career, Groff also works  as a proofreader for Best essay writing service.

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

 

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