Creative writing can be more than just a hobby, a job, or a time-filler. It can be a tool for working on your mental well-being.
We accumulate stress and worries with each passing day. If you don’t find a way to work on your mental health, that stress will leave mental and physical consequences.
One of the proven techniques for mental care is creative writing. Engaging regularly in creative writing can bring amazing changes to your mental and emotional state.
Why is that?
That's what we are about to uncover. In the following lines, you can learn all about how creative writing affects mental health. You'll learn about the benefits of writing and its connection to mental well-being.
Benefits of Creative Writing for Mental Health
Creative writing has a great therapeutic value. Just as you need physical activity to keep your body healthy, you can use writing to take care of your mental well-being.
You can hear words like “cathartic,” “purifying,” and “relieving” associated with creative writing practice. But the question is, why? How can something seemingly simple as writing have such a great effect on mental health?
Here is how creative writing can help you improve your mental well-being:
1. Be happier
Scientific research has found a link between creative writing and long-term happiness. New Zealand’s University of Otago conducted research and found that everyday creative writing inspires an “upward spiral” of enthusiasm for further pursuing creative outlets. That enthusiasm can boost the endorphin levels in your body.
2. Have a safe place to let go of emotions
Creative writing can be an outlet for letting go of fears and worries without judgment. They may be expressed through your characters’ emotions or their stories, but you will be able to let it all go. When you gain control over your emotions, you’ll be able to feel better, sleep better, and love yourself more.
3. Discover the origin of your emotions
By observing your writing, you can notice patterns that reveal the reasons behind some negative emotions. The stories of your heroes and villains can hide your personal aspirations, struggles, and desires.
4. Free your mind
Creative writing can declutter your mind. You’ll transfer overthinking to captivating stories. Whenever you start obsessing over something, start writing instead. That repetitive thought will be replaced by creative thinking and writing.
5. Practice mindfulness
Creative writing can help you be more mindful. While writing, you’ll focus on that particular moment, not on your past nor future. The only thing stealing your attention will be the characters and their stories.
6. Redirect negative emotions
Creative writing gives you a place for directing your negative emotions. “Instead of lashing out and making a rash decision, you can release the negativity through writing. By unleashing negative minds on the page, you’ll be able to think more clearly,” said Amanda Hurley, a writer for GetGoodGrade and advocate for using creative writing for mental well-being.
7. Step into a different world
Sometimes we all need a break from reality. Creative writing can make that happen. You can take a break from any problems and run away in the world you’ve created. Once you relieve the stress, you’ll think more rationally about your challenges.
8. Boost your confidence
Creative writing can build your confidence. No matter how you write, you’ll feel better about yourself as you’ll spend time doing something interesting and creative.
9. Build empathy
A writer needs to relate with the fictional characters, their thoughts, and experiences. This can give them a new perspective on other people’s stories. Creative writers can, therefore, cultivate empathy and learn how to understand others better.
10. Gain a feeling of accomplishment
Creative writing can give you a sense of accomplishment. Forming and writing down a story is an achievement. Who knows, maybe some innovative idea pops up and helps you in your business and life.
Ways to Improve Your Mental Health with Creative Writing
Now that you know why creative writing is important let’s shift our focus to the “how.”
Writing down a few sentences about a character and expecting a miracle won’t do the trick. You have to be dedicated.
How you approach creative writing determines whether it will be therapeutic or not. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to use creative writing for mental well-being:
1. Don’t overthink it
If you are using creative writing primarily for mental health purposes, you shouldn’t stress about how you write, nor what you write about. Have a single goal – to write. That’s all you need to do. Overthinking your writing style or characters will only have the opposite effect.
2. Be consistent
Finding time to write once in a blue moon won’t lead to any results. Would you expect to see a muscle after one weight lifting set? Of course not. The same applies to mental health. You need to do it regularly if you want to see the benefits. Write every day for the best results.
3. Find a quiet place
Creative writing demands that you get in touch with your emotions and surface your most inner thoughts. You won’t be able to do this if someone is interrupting you or distracting you. Find your “safe place” for writing. Make sure to give yourself peace and quiet.
4. Keep it for yourself
The awareness that this writing is for your eyes only will help you open up completely. Don’t think about showing your work to anyone. At least not for now.
5. Use personal pronouns
Using pronouns such as “I,” “me,” and “my” brings you a better emotional release. Therefore, it’ll have a better therapeutic effect. Even though you’ll be speaking through your characters, personal pronouns can let you express your emotions directly.
6. Don’t edit
Who cares if you have a spelling mistake here or there? You can easily go back later and make some changes. For now, direct your attention to expressing yourself freely.
7. Let it rest
Before you read your masterpiece, sleep on it. Let it rest at least a day. Reading your finished work can be useful as it can help you understand yourself better.
Improve Your Mental Health One Page at a Time
Creative writing can bring together all suppressed emotions and thoughts and teleport them on the page. Every worry, dark thought, and negative emotion can walk out of your mind and take a unique form in your stories.
Introduce a healthy and creative habit in your life that can help you take care of your mind. Self-care is something that you need and deserve. Start writing a story and you might develop a new, desired direction in the story of your life.
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