5 Reasons Writing Can Be Huge Boost for Happiness

Writing just a few minutes a day can have surprising benefits for your mental health.

Jul 4, 2018

Writing has powerful mental health benefits that promote happiness, creativity, and helps build the life we want to live. You don’t have to be Mark Twain or Jane Austen to consider yourself a writer. Different forms of writing like expressive journaling, creative writing, or jotting down future goals all have proven links to happiness. The research is in. Find out five reasons writing can help you lead a happier life.

1. Writing promotes well-being and helps process emotions.

Simply writing for the sake of getting your thoughts out of your head and onto a page has huge benefits for mental health. A recent study examined the effects of writing in a sample group of 81 undergraduates. The students wrote for 20 minutes a day for five months on topics of life such as traumatic experiences and personal goals. By the end, the project revealed a significant increase in well-being and improved mood among participants.

Why? Writing opens up an outlet to confess fears and worries without judgment. Putting thoughts down on a piece of paper or in a journal has therapeutic benefits that include increased happiness and reduced stress. With that in mind, try to use writing as a tool to express and process events in life to help propel you forward in a positive direction.

2. Writing gains perspective about ourselves.

According to Psychology Today, "There's simply no better way to learn about your thought processes than to write them down." Writing down emotions reveals thought patterns leading to breakthroughs in understanding the reasons these emotions arise in the first place.

Past experiences can trigger our automatic defense system, and emotions arise to protect us without us realizing it or knowing why. For example, a person who went through a difficult breakup may express shyness, avoid getting close to anyone new and isolate themselves. Through writing, we can become aware of how our emotions stem from the past in order to slowly heal rather than block opportunities to experience life.

3. Writing increases chances of achieving goals and self-realization.

Throughout the day, our minds can become over stimulated with thoughts. Taking a moment to write down goals helps to refine thought processes and clarify desires. In fact, research shows that listing goals has a huge impact on increasing the odds of actualizing them, whether in career, family, health, relationships, and so on. On top of that, when we do accomplish our goals, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that triggers the feeling of pleasure and motivation. Write down your aspirations, and you’ll find yourself on a path to success in accomplishing your dreams and creating a life you love.

4. Expressive writing helps deal with life’s hard times.

When an unexpected negative situation happens, writing serves as a way to cope and move forward. In a study examining 63 engineers who lost their jobs, scientists assigned a portion of the participants to write about their emotions surrounding their job loss. Those among the group who wrote down their emotions, not only felt less anger over the situation but also found new employment faster than those who did not take part in daily writing. In times of trouble, try expressive writing, a form of writing that pays attention to feelings, memories, people, and other aspects of our lives, to process and overcome difficult situations.

5. Creative writing promotes happiness

Scientific evidence proves the link between creative activities and happiness. New research from New Zealand’s University of Otago indicates that everyday creative writing leads to long-term happiness and inspires an “upward spiral” of enthusiasm to pursue even more creative outlets. Dr. Tamlin Conner, a researcher from the study, explained,” Engaging in creative behavior leads to increases in well-being the next day, and this increased well-being is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day.” So if you’re looking for a way to feel better and get your creative juices flowing, put pen to paper and enjoy the tremendous benefits.

ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.

ADD A COMMENT