Expressive Writing As Food For Your Mental Health


All of us know that expressive writing is good for the brain. The more you practice, the more that you will improve your writing style. But do you know that aside from the benefits it gives to the brain, it also targets the heart and soul? With this in mind, let us explore how expressive writing can help your mental health. 

What Is Expressive Writing?

Expressive writing also referred to as written emotional disclosure, is a more complicated term for expressing one’s thoughts through writing. Keep in mind that professional writers are not the only people who do this. If you ever kept a diary or journal,  you have done this simple act of creative writing.

However, with the emergence of technology, expressive writing is not only done through pen and paper. The modern age enables us to do this through personal blogging and even through the assistance of new apps. 

Why Is Expressive Writing Good For The Soul?

  • Expressive Writing Addresses Trauma

This type of therapy started with Beall and Pennebaker during the late 80s. Their experiment involved asking their target subjects to write and talk about past trauma. Through writing, they are able to express their deepest thoughts and feelings. 

From here, the experts saw how this is something that can be an avenue for those individuals with trauma to speak unspoken emotions. It is effective, given that they see this as a safe space. They feel more comfortable talking about what’s bothering them in front of a pen and paper compared to talking with a therapist. 

  • Expressive Writing Leads To A Positive Attitude

One way to go about expressive writing is through gratitude work. Here, your approach involves thanking and sending personal gratitude to the things and people you are thankful for. Keep in mind that these do not have to be the big things necessarily. You can also talk about the simple things you experience but have given you small bits of happiness in your everyday lives.

What’s good about this type of expressive writing is that it significantly benefits your mental health. Given that you see life on a more positive note, it gives your mental health a boost in terms of eliminating all negative thoughts. 

  • Expressive Writing Improves Concentration And Focus

Believe it or not, writing requires immense levels of concentration and focus. You won’t be able to finish your piece excellently without giving your 101% in its creation. At the same time, works like this will enable you to dig deep with your thoughts to be able to understand the underlying emotions beneath these.

As you engage with expressive writing more, it will be easier for you to attain high levels of concentration as the days pass by. Keep in mind that this is not an easy feat. Achieving your aimed focus on expressive writing is the same as reaching a peaceful state of mind with meditation. 

How To Start Your Journey Of Expressive Writing

  • Find The Perfect Place And Choose The Perfect Time

Finding the perfect place and choosing the ideal time slot is the most critical aspect of expressive writing. In looking for your writing spot, you have to consider its environment. Make sure that it’s quiet to allow you to concentrate. Your designated place should also be as relaxing as possible. It will help if there are no distractions such as the television, radio, playthings, and more. 

Choosing the perfect time is also vital. Make sure it’s a period where you’re not stressed and not thinking a lot of things. Experts recommend doing this before you go to bed or after your work. But if you think you can write at other times of the day, feel free to do so. 

  • Commit At Least 20 Minutes A Day

Once everything is set, make sure to come up with a commitment. Expressive writing won’t be that effective if you don’t do it regularly. Those who do this recommend at least 20 minutes per day. Time less than this is still acceptable, but professionals believe that you won’t be able to maximize its effects. 

  • Set Your Daily Objective

Before writing, ensure that you know your objective for the day. Are you writing to overcome your anxiety, improve your mindset, or understand your trauma? Whatever it is, ensure that your expressive writing aligns with your daily goal. Through this, it will be easier for you to structure your thoughts and emotions. 

  • Do Not Be Too Conscious With Grammar Or Spelling

For professional writers who are doing this exercise, it might be difficult not to focus on the writing technicalities. However, it will help to loosen up a bit. It will be harder to express your emotions if you’re so conscious of spelling or grammar. Avoid focusing on the mistakes. Instead, let your thoughts drive what you are doing. Once you are done spilling everything, that’s the time to go back and edit your output.

Go For Expressive Writing

Keep in mind that you don’t have to store all your works. Once you finish with your output, you may either burn it, save it, tear it up, erase it, or shred it. Always remember that your writing is only for you. It’s your responsibility to decide what to do with it.