When life is difficult to handle, we typically try to avoid adding to our “to do” list. When stressed and anxious, our first reaction is not to sit and write it down. At the times when we are stressed and anxious, we don’t know how to let go of what we are feeling. If we keep our emotions bottled up inside, they will only get worse. If we numb our emotions in unhealthy ways like yelling or drinking, we are only bringing more stress upon ourselves. Talking to a friend or doing fun physical activities are some positive ways of releasing emotions. Writing is another great way, even just putting our thoughts to paper helps to release.
You can use writing to help yourself problem solve. Writing is a way to brainstorm ideas that will improve your life. Sometimes a problem can seem very overwhelming, but if you start writing about it, a solution can begin to take shape. Try writing everything you’re thinking about a particular issue, and then reread what you’ve written, see it from a different perspective. You might find that your problem isn’t as bad as it originally seemed. Once it’s on paper, or you may discover a new way to approach it. You can list the pros and cons, which are necessary tools in the decision-making process.
When writing about things that are overwhelming and stressful, it is necessary to gain self-awareness. Be aware of how you react to things that occur in your life. Do you respond in a positive way? Or do you over-react or respond negatively? Once you reflect on yourself, you can make the necessary improvements. Reflect on what things trigger your anxiety, what causes the spikes in your stress level. Overtime, the patterns and common threads will show through your writing. Take this opportunity to discover new methods that can be used to help reduce stress and anxiety. This will help improve your coping abilities. Every bit helps and it’s certainly worth at least giving it a shot.
Below I have listed 10 ways writing helps to reduce stress and anxiety:
1. Writing clarifies your thoughts: Writing forces you to think about the events that occur throughout the day. Once you remove yourself from the situation which upset you, write what precipitated these events on paper.
2. Writing is meditative: Writing stream of consciousness is like walking meditation. Your breathing slows as you concentrate on the words and allow them to flow out of your head to the keyboard or paper. Free your mind, allow yourself to be swept away by the words.
3. Writing makes you smarter: Writing is an active process. Always research your subjects. Writing improves your vocabulary and makes you smarter. When your mind is clear better able to handle stressful situations.
4. Writing helps you sleep better: Writing allows you to break the stress-causing cycles within your head. There are some people who read themselves to sleep and others who write their own stories while they go to sleep. The more relaxed you are, the better you will sleep. You will wake up more rested which decreases your stress.
5. Writing removes anger: Write down all the angry thoughts that go through your mind. This is your private diary. Do not show it to anyone. Focus on what’s stressing you. Release everything use the first words that come to your mind. Take charge of the situation. Decide how you would to resolve the matter. By addressing the issue in writing, you are releasing it and still have the option to either throw it away or save it.
6. Writing solves problems: Writing helps to see things from a fresh perspective. It is easier to find the resolution once things are clear. Brainstorm different answers and points of record. Write out the potential solutions, to find the ideal course of action to take. Being focused helps you to relax and release your stress.
7. Writing offers purpose: It helps to write out the things that you have to do. When you have a “to do” list, you have a guideline to follow. When you have accomplished the items on your list, you gain purpose. This sense of accomplishment also helps to release stress.
8. Writing strengthens your immune system: When you are still, writing, your breathing slows down. This allows more oxygen flows to the brain. Being engaged in work also helps to heal the body, by encouraging it to fight against viruses.
9. Writing alleviates asthma: When your body is calm it helps with your breathing. When in the writing zone our bodies eliminate some of the stresses. One way lungs heal is by taking deep breaths. Deep breathing exercises can be done easily while writing.
10. Writing unties stomach knots: Your stomach can get tied up in knots due to the stress in your life. By breathing slower and meditating while writing, it helps to ease the physical discomfort throughout your body, especially your stomach.
It really does not matter what you write, just as long as you are writing. It helps to reduce both mental and physical stress. Calm and inner peace will return. So the next time you are stressing, try taking twenty minutes to write your thoughts and feelings, see how you feel afterward.
Everyone needs to escape from the stress of daily life once in a while. When your mind and body are stressed, it is necessary to take a break. If you enjoy writing, use it as a respite. Use writing to take yourself away from your reality. Go somewhere else and forget about the things that are weighing you down. Use your imagination and write short stories or poems. Write about anything as along as it makes you happy. Reminisce on positive memories and events that uplift you. Leave it handy, so you can go back and read when you need a pick-me-up. Once you shift your attention and give yourself a breather and focus on something other than your problems calm down and feel better. Revisit the topic once you are in a clear state of mind.
*Self-affirmation does a world of good. Save inspirational stories, quotes, and writings. Find the warmth in kind words. This will reinforce SELF LOVE, positive thinking, and improve your mental health.
**Also, go beyond self; write a little note to someone. Express anything you want, i.e. greeting, love, appreciation, etc. Or write to someone experiencing similar struggles; offer each other mental and emotional support. You can never go wrong with a true act of kindness. Being positive will always build you up…