Writing is one of the earliest known forms of communication, dating back hundreds and thousands of years into human history. However, it’s only been the last 30 years or so where the vast majority of humans have ditched the traditional forms of writing for digital versions, such as texts, instant messages and 240 characters Tweets.
What many of us have left by the wayside is the fact that writing comprehensively for ourselves provides a range of benefits that can have a direct positive effect on our mental health, according to study. Today, we’re going to explore these benefits and describe how you can start to bring them into your everyday life.
Of course, the first benefit that writing can provide, according to Harvard Medical School Health Report, is the ability to help you understand, acknowledge and manage your emotions. As humans, we’re naturally very emotional beings, but it’s safe to say that these can easily get on top of us every now and then.
If you’re keeping a journal, you can write it in every day, even if that is just a list of all the emotions you’ve been feeling. This can help you to see how you’ve been feeling over longer periods of time while also giving you the opportunity to see why you felt that way, whether it was worth feeling that way, and how you could react to certain situations in the future.
Another one of the best benefits that are writing in a journal provides is being able to improve our lives in any way that we want to, ultimately helping us to reach goals, achieve our dreams and live the lives we want to live.
For example, if you spent five minutes every single night writing down a list of goals that you want to achieve the next day, you’re ingraining these goals into your mind, making it far more likely that you’re going to achieve them. However, there’s no reason you need to stop there
“Try writing your to-do list every night before you go to bed. This is a great way to embed the tasks you want to complete in your mind, meaning you’ll be ready to wake up and grab life by the horns the next day” says Ben Day, a psychologist at Paper Fellows writing community.
Why not write down your goals for the week, the month, or even the next 10 years? When you’re suffering from a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression, it’s easy to get caught up in the past and situations happening right in front of you, rather than acknowledging the fact that you can achieve great things over longer periods of time.
Ideally, to enjoy all the benefits that writing provides, you’ll want to try writing every single day, even if it’s only for five or ten minutes. Over time, this means that you’ll be forming a habit, invoking the ability to apply discipline to your own life.
This concept and new-found trait can then be applied to all areas of your life, helping you to be whoever you want. According to study by National Association of Colleges and Employers, 73% of employers require strong written skills, so they are essential in your career. Also, it increases your chances to apply for freelance jobs at Upwork or Ukwritings, for example. If you feel like you’re spending too much time on social media, having the discipline to restrict yourself, perhaps giving you more time to focus on a hobby or passion, is a great step forward.
Improve Your Memory
The practice of writing has always been linked with the ability to improve your memory. As you learn and develop your skills as a writer, you’ll notice how you naturally become more observant in your day to day life. According to study, this form of writing also actively helps to minimise stress.
“You become more observant because you’re actively thinking about everything that’s happening in your life, taking notes of the details of how you feel, the way people treat you, the way you treat people and the things you’re doing throughout your days,” shares Nick Anderson, a psychologist at Academized, “ This naturally improves your memory, which can then be applied to every aspect of your life. We practice this with our students and receive positive results each time.”
Developing Your Writing Skills
How often do you write something on a standard day in your life? The chances are that it’s probably more than you think. Whether you’re writing text messages, emails, reports at work, resumes, blog posts, letters or whatever it may be, writing every day is only going to turn you into a more comprehensive writer, which will improve the way you write in every other aspect of your life.
This is great for communicating and opening new opportunities up to yourself. If you’re looking for a way to get started when improving your skills, there are a tonne of free blogs like Academadvisor that can help. If you’re looking for ways to start improving your general writing skills, there are also many free blogs like State of Writing and Via Writing that can help you get started.
As you can see, there are many benefits that keeping a journal can bring into your life, naturally improving the conditions of your mental health. While it’s best to start by writing with a pen and paper, perhaps even a dedicated book for your journaling, feel free to use a computer if it best suits you, and you’ll start to feel the positive side effects within a week.