Writing is an anonymously expressive art form that can send you into a state of trance. Many of us become those stereotypical writers with our messy tables hovering around random ideas through books and articles with our coffee mugs and a book and pencil to scribble things when thoughts run loose. But personally, writing has been more than just this image to me.
The idea of free writing started during my graduation where I struggled to let my mind run free when asked to. Panic and anxiety would encapsulate me having me going bonkers about ‘can I really write something worth showing to others?’
But ever since I completed university and joined the rat race of working a 9-5 job, although, in a school with children, I needed an outlet, something to vent out my days’ mishaps. And surprisingly I took shelter in writing and it has been the most liberating experience I have ever felt.
So, I have come up with a set of standard yet a personal list of benefits that could be useful.
1. Channeling your right emotions
The idea of channeling your emotions onto a scrap of paper hoping it would make you feel better is a lot to bet on but it’s just unbelievable. It led me to let out emotions about my day and what I felt, be it whether I was happy or annoyed. It helped me look at issues in my life and turn them over in perspective.
2. Writing your problems can be challenging
Writing down problems made it seem less of a problem but more of a challenge that may be difficult to tackle. The subconscious mind has a funny way of dealing with things when played in the mind versus when written on a piece of paper.
While at times your mind boggles to find the right words, writing can also reduce stress. You needn’t use eloquent words to express yourself to yourself. A simple written message about your day does the trick of feeling less heavy and lethargic, especially after a day-long work.
3. Everybody needs therapy
Apart from the liberating experience that you may feel, writing can also be therapeutic. It had become a form of therapy for me.
Psychology earlier focused mainly on mental disorders and disabilities that people go through. But recently, psychology has branched out towards a relatively new field of positive psychology. Positive psychology shifts the focus of what could be clinically wrong to promoting wellbeing and encouraging positive relationships.
4. Let it flow
Just like the concept of free flow in schools, where children are allowed to run loose to choose activities that spur their thinking and emotions, similarly, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, through his research of understanding what people felt and wanted, found that through the concept of “flow” individuals experienced a state of total involvement towards the task. These tasks are based on skills and have clearer goals towards the end of it.
Similarly, the experience of writing may not cater to each and everyone but jotting what you may go through may result in the concept of catharsis, where towards the end, just like ‘flow’ it would leave you in the state of total involvement.
5. Promoting the right amount of positivity
Several other researchers such as Laura King, have measured a significant increase in positivity among people when asked to write about their life goals and dreams. This increase could boost long-term health effects among individuals reducing mental problems. According to WHO statistics, around 322 million people around the world suffer from depression.
As someone who has personally gone through that, trust me there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you’d find your light in a form of a person or an object or both, but for me, my light apart from my husband was also writing. It helped me dump all my suppressed emotions and jiggered moments of the day.
6. Yes, means no
Our mind can either be our pocket full of sunshine or a horrible storm on a gloomy day. And trying to escape the latter, isn’t as easy as it may sound. People usually tend to deny and project traumatic problems on others or in some cases, escape it. But escaping the situation only results in the subconscious mind digging deeper and spurting memories out.
Many studies have shown benefits for some individuals and yet no benefits for the others. But researchers have noticed that when employees were asked to engage in expressive writing, most of them had lesser hidden anger and hostility towards their surroundings.
So, don’t force the emotion out, let it flow, and engaging naturally in writing may have an impact positively.
7. Say your magic words
Apart from writing about the horrible things you go through, write about your happy moments in life. It could be anything from getting a box of chocolates to shopping on a sale-day to eating out with your favorite person. Write them down.
It would help you react better when faced with a tough situation and at the same time help you look at life from a different perspective.
8. Trust yourself
Lastly, while attempting expressive writing, trust your conscience. Trusting yourself is an incredibly fantastic way of feeling empowered.
It would be difficult to draft your writing down because at times it may break you, but it gets easier when you get to the end of it and realize that maybe it was beneficial all the way. Trust yourself enough to tell your subconscious mind, that you’re at a good place and that it’s making you look at life a tad differently.
So, give it a shot, express yourself in writing and maybe you’d be surprised by how beneficial it may become for you.