How can writing help wellbeing?

We don’t know exactly how writing benefits health and wellbeing, although many research studies have shown that it does. I believe that writing probably benefits different people in different ways, for example:

Providing a ‘flow experience’.

Bringing enjoyment – sometimes during difficult times.

Giving you something different to think about.

Clarifying your thoughts and feelings.

Helping you to learn ‘Mindfulness’ – “Mindful Writing works by writing down your thoughts and feelings as you experience them.  This strengthens your sense of NOW.  The more you can accept yourself as you are, the more you can change” (Beier & Birkenhead, 2012).

Bringing a sense of calm and decreasing anxiety.

Lifting your mood.

Allowing you to discover or re-discover an interest – not just in writing but through the topics that come out in your writing.

Bringing out topics that inspire meaningful and interesting conversations.

Reminding you of happy times and positive memories.

Giving you a chance to ‘stretch’ yourself.

Letting you re-define yourself as a writer rather than as someone with this or that diagnosis.

Giving you the opportunity to share thoughts with others (e.g., when you write in a group or share writing online).

Encouraging catharsis, i.e., the purging of emotions or relieving of emotional tensions.

Making it easier to ‘open up’ and talk to someone about your problems, e.g., therapist or counsellor.

Beier, A.; Birkenhead, E. (2012). Mindful writing. Retrieved 4 February 2012 from http://www.wordkit.co.uk/our-services/mindful-writing/

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About Carol Ross

Interested in therapeutic writing.
This entry was posted in Wellbeing, Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How can writing help wellbeing?

  1. Carol Ross says:

    Thanks Suzanne. And how wonderful that you have your father’s old diaries!

  2. Suzanne Kelsey says:

    I totally agree with all that is embodied in this article. Writing can be so therapeutic in so many different ways. The actual writing process is very much connected with mindfulness ad you are focusing on the here and now, your scattered thoughts often channelled into a flow of meaningful words that others may also connect with. Part of the therapy is also to keep reading these words perhaps putting them into a journal that then clearly illustrates a diary of your inner most feelings. When my father died we found his diaries about his time in Burma during the war and the writing was quite beautiful and so poignant. I felt very sad that he had not shared them with us so that we could understand the difficult times he went through and the amazing fact that he was so poetic. My most recent poem was written after I watched the news and shed tears at being told of the slaughter of innocent men women and children in Syria, I felt I had to write down how I felt as a tribute to the innocent people that were suffering, thus a cathartic process but also a political statement abut the futility of war made through poetry.

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