Benefits Of Writing As Therapy

Writing benefits

Have you ever felt down, without strength? Do you feel that stress wears down your well-being and routine seems like a dead end? Of course, we all go through difficult situations that affect our mood.

Writing can be a very powerful resource to regain stability in times of crisis ; It will help you face your problems and make you see possible solutions in a different light.

Art as a therapeutic weapon

Art can be healing. In general, any activity that is pleasurable, while keeping our minds off worries, will have a positive impact on our mental health.

For people who have a talent for art, dancing, drawing, playing an instrument or painting are fantastic methods to channel emotional development and promote psychological well-being. You may consider yourself not very gifted in artistic creation, but you do not need to have specific skills to enjoy these benefits. There are ways to be more creative and express your emotions, which do not require any type of virtuosity.

A good resource can be therapeutic writing You don’t have to be a prolific author or a poet, all you need is a piece of paper, a pen, and the motivation to write.

What is therapeutic writing?

Write

Also known as Emotional Diary, it is exactly what it sounds like: keeping a diary, where you will record how you have felt throughout the day, for therapeutic purposes.

Writing as therapy is affordable, simple, and can be a good complement to other treatments. It can be practiced individually, just us and a pencil, or supervised by a mental health professional. It is also possible to share it with other people, in group therapies focused on writing.

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Whatever form we choose, writing will contribute to our personal growth to better express and communicate our emotions and will promote the feeling of having our lives and thoughts under control.

It is not difficult to see the potential that therapeutic writing can have, just look at the poets and storytellers of all times who define the contact of paper and pen as a cathartic experience. As Henry Miller states in his book “Sexus”: “A man writes to expel all the poison that he has accumulated because of his false way of living.”

Basic differences between the conventional and emotional diary

Although writing as therapy may seem as simple as journaling, it is much more than that. We can distinguish three major differences between a conventional diary and the emotional diary:

There is also another big difference between these two writing practices: the increase in our emotional well-being.

Benefits of writing as a therapeutic tool

Keeping a simple diary can certainly be useful, as it improves memory, helps us remember small daily events or simply helps us relax at the end of the day. Although these benefits are not minor, with therapeutic writing we can go further.

For people who have experienced a traumatic or very stressful event, expressing themselves through writing can have a great healing effect. In fact, writing about our traumatic experiences for 15 minutes for four days in a row provides an improvement in our mood, which is maintained over time (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005).

Other studies conclude that patients affected by asthma and arthritis, who wrote about the most traumatic experiences of their lives, experienced a notable improvement in the evaluation of their illness (Smyth, Stone, Hurewitz, & Kaell, 1999).

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A recent study suggests that this type of writing can even improve the immune system, although in this case the practice must be maintained more consistently (Murray, 2002).

In addition to all these concrete results on a physical and emotional level, regularly practicing therapeutic writing can help us find more meaning in our experiences, see things from another perspective and bring out the positive side of unpleasant events. It can also lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our environment that is difficult to achieve without emotion-focused writing (Tartakovsky, 2015).

In general, Therapeutic writing has been shown to be effective in the treatment of many mental conditions and illnesses including:

How to write an emotional journal

There are several ways to start writing for therapeutic purposes. If you are undergoing therapy with a psychology professional, he or she can tell you the best way to start.

If you’re thinking about getting started on this type of writing on your own before consulting with a therapist, here are some tips to help you.

First of all, You must choose the way that best suits you to obtain a better result:

Next, follow these five steps:

Finally, as you write you should keep in mind that:

  • It doesn’t matter if you write a few lines or several pages; Write at your own pace.
  • Don’t worry too much about the topic you’re writing about, just focus on taking your time writing and keeping your full attention on it.
  • It’s not about writing well in a formal sense, the important thing is to write down what makes sense to you and flows naturally.
  • Write as if only you were going to read it, with that you will be more authentic and not seek recognition.
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It may be difficult for you at first, as we know that the first step is always the hardest. Maintaining interest and not abandoning the commitment will be your next challenge.

Ideas and tips for writing your emotional journal

If you feel stuck and don’t know how to continue your writing, here are some ideas that may help you:

  • Write letters; They can be directed at yourself or at others.
  • Automatic writing. Write down anything that comes to mind.
  • Make an outline. You can write down your problem in the center and draw branches that start from it showing different aspects.
  • Use a photo from your personal album and ask yourself: “How do I feel when I look at these photos? What feelings do the people, places or things that appear in them awaken in me?
  • Finish these sentences: “What worries me most is…”, “I have trouble sleeping when…”, “My happiest memory is…”.
  • Make lists. For example, things that make me sad, reasons to get up in the morning, things that I like, things that make me smile, etc.
  • If there is something that particularly worries you, write it in the third person; It will help you gain perspective.
  • Thought dump. Think about a specific topic, such as an event from your childhood, without paying attention to grammar or spelling, and simply write non-stop for 5 minutes.

These tips can serve as an introduction to writing as therapy to improve your personal balance and maintain control over your mind, while you consider the possibility of seeking psychological help. At the same time, they will help you improve your self-esteem and, above all, get to know yourself.

  • Burns, George (2001). 101 Healing Stories: Using Metaphors in Therapy, Wiley.
  • García Pintos, Claudio (2001). “Logotherapy in Stories”; Ed. San Pablo, Buenos Aires.
  • Saint Girons, Cecilia (2005). “Reading and its Therapeutic Effect.”