The daily stress caused by some aspects of life in the 21st century can affect people physically and also affect mental health. Continuous exposure to stressful conditions such as one’s workplace can lead to mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety.
According to experts, taking breaks such as vacations, or pursuing hobbies during free time can help to reduce stress. Recreational therapy such as art, music, and dance can also help in rejuvenating the mind. Writing or journaling is an outlet that can significantly boost mental health. No classes are required and anyone can do it.
Health benefits of writing
Writing is a mode of expression. Several studies have reported that writing offers several physical and mental health benefits. According to James Pennebaker, psychologist and researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, the habit of writing, especially journaling, tends to strengthen immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Writing about a stressful event, helps a person acknowledge a situation with less stress and trauma, thereby reducing the impact of the pressure on physical health. Other studies suggest writing can help decrease symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Benefits of writing in terms of mental health
Studies suggest that since writing involves the use of the left brain which is responsible for analytical and rational tasks, this frees the right brain to create, intuit, and feel.
According to Virginia Berninger, professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, the sequential finger movements used during writing “activate massive regions in the brain that are involved in thinking, language, and working memory, the system for temporarily storing and managing information.” Many elderly people who write regularly are found to have a more responsive mental acuity than their peers who do not write.
Writing also assists in managing anxiety, reducing stress, coping with depression, and boosting mood as it enables a person to prioritize a problem and search for practically effective solutions. Keeping a daily journal also helps a person identify potential depression symptoms.
Tips to begin journaling
Journaling primarily refers to recording daily events and thoughts. Keeping a journal is more about free writing than organized writing. Details such as spelling, punctuation, or grammar are not necessarily important. The benefit of journaling is that it trains the brain to think in an organized manner and reduces random thoughts.
Journal entries are for the benefit of the writer and not intended to be read by others. They are more of a personal record for the writer’s benefit and should be kept as simple as possible, capturing current thoughts.
Treating mental health disorders
Besides boosting mental health, regular writing also helps in improving concentration and decision-making abilities. According to studies, keeping a journal and blogging tend to have a therapeutic effect and also helps reduce depression, stress, and anxiety. Writing can be done by people experiencing a mild level of mental stress and depression. Those with severe depression, anxiety or any other mental disorder should seek immediate medical help.
If you or your loved one is showing symptoms of any mental illness, seek medical help immediately from the best mental health centers in California. The California Mental Health Helpline can help you in your road to recovery. Call our 24/7 helpline number (855) 559-3923 or chat online with our certified medical representatives who will help you get in touch with the best mental health rehabilitation centers in California.