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Five Ways How Expressive Writing Can Boost Your Mental Health

Update Date: Sep 28, 2019 10:11 AM EDT

Mental health struggles can have a negative impact on your ability to function in your professional and personal lives. A lot of people go into a state of denial when their mental health is suffering. This is mainly due to the stigma still attached to mental health issues. 

The lives we lead today are stressful. People experience trauma or go through trying ordeals that they need to process. Work or family relations can cause anxiety and sleeplessness. 

These factors can negatively affect your mental health. There is evidence that writing about your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions can help you deal with the stresses of modern life. Here are five ways expressive writing is good for your mental health.

Talking about how you feel is difficult

A lot of people find it hard to express their emotions in conversation with someone else. Many keep their feelings bottled up inside because they find it awkward to talk about them. Revisiting traumatic events can be very stressful, so they pretend they never happened. Internalizing such emotions might work in the short-term, but they must be confronted eventually. 

Expressive writing allows you to release these feelings. Committing them to paper can be cathartic. When you see them before you in black and white, it's easier to begin to deal with them. 

Your first few sessions of writing don't need to deal with such sensitive matters. Start writing about your current life and your dreams for the future. Once you've got into the habit of writing, you can start penning the stories of your past.

You can revisit your writing at any time

When you've been working through something difficult, it's good to be able to go back to what you wrote to see how far you've come. This can be very motivating on bad days when you feel you've made no progress at all.

A lot of times, you can take your expressive writings about a specific period or incident and use them to help you get closure. Some people find that rereading their writing and then burning it helps them to move on. 

Others put their writing in an envelope at the back of a closet. In a few years' time, they open and reread it and reflect on how they've moved forward from it.

You can unlock a new talent

The more you write, the more you might find you enjoy it and have a knack for it. You could turn this talent into a career opportunity and use your skills to earn money. A lot of people have found that taking up expressive writing has allowed them to unlock a creative side they didn't even know they had.

In Canada and USA, there is a considerable demand for assignment expert writers. You could launch an essay writing startup that provides writing help for dissertation, thesis, and college essays. You could work part-time while you establish a loyal customer base. 

Expand your business into writing blog posts and online articles for clients. It's possible that your expressive writing practice could launch you into a different career trajectory.

You don't have to share it with anyone

Some of the things you need to get down on paper might be events or feelings you're too ashamed to share with another living soul. Expressive writing can help you get them out without having to confide in someone else. You have control over whether other people find out about it or not.

You might find that once you've committed them to paper, it will be easier to express them to a trusted confidant. If you want to, you can offer dissertation help for students or just give them the chance to read what you've written so that they have an insight into what you want to share with them. 

The idea of someone else knowing about something deeply personal might be intimidating. But sharing the burden can be the first step toward healing and closure. 

It's unstructured, and there's no right or wrong

The rules are different when it comes to expressive writing. No one is going to grade you, so some spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes won't count against you. It doesn't even need to be legible to someone else, so it doesn't matter if it's untidy.

There are no set topics when it comes to expressive writing. You don't only have to write about your past. Many people write about their goals and aspirations. This approach helps them to stay focused on what they want to achieve. 

Some people prefer writing in point form. Others prefer to write in story form. Some write in eloquent prose, while others write telegraph style. It's not about what someone else expects of you. It's about what helps you to express your thoughts and feelings. You can doodle or draw pictures as part of your writing if you want to.


If you want to try expressive writing to give you a mental health boost, make it a daily habit. You should devote about 20 minutes a day four or five times a week to write. You should write at roughly the same time each day. Early risers might prefer to write in the morning where night owls will reserve their writing for the evening.

Use a bound book or loose-leaf papers that you keep in a binder, whichever is more comfortable for you. Write in pen or pencil depending on your preference. The important thing is what you write, not how you write it. As long as you're writing, you're on the road to discovering something new about yourself.

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