Expressive Writing for Physical and Mental Health
“Writing about an emotionally charged subject or an unresolved trauma helps you put the event into perspective and give some structure and organization to those anxious feelings, which ultimately helps you get through it.” -Professor James Pennebaker
The statement by Professor Pennebaker is one of the health benefits that come with expressive writing. The art offers individuals the chance to express themselves without the fear of criticism. Expressive writing links the body and the mind of a person to actualize situations and experiences. Previous research indicates that traumatized individuals who withhold sensitive information are more likely to require medical attention than open counterparts. Expressive writing offers the opportunity for people to express their feelings, ideologies, emotions, intentions and beliefs with confidence.
Identifying the Warning Signs for Mental Health
Identification is the first stage in expressive writing, as individuals can quickly clear the uncertainty that may surround the states of their mental health. Various indicators are familiar with people who previously suffered traumatizing injuries or physical deformations. The signs manifest themselves in mood swings, fear, anxiety, poor focusing, ruthlessness, excessive drug use, nightmares, sleep disorders, poor decision making, restlessness and self-confinement, among others. Individuals will exhibit different types of indicators. Therefore, the list lacks comprehensiveness as each person is unique.
For instance, a person may suffer adverse mental health problems and fail to notice the symptoms. “Writing should be descriptive and follow feelings and needs, as one must be attentive to the process rather than using the strategy to avoid difficult issues,” says Susan Russell, Health Writer at ConfidentWriters and Paper Writers For Hire. A person may continue feeling depressed even after writing expressively, and it is advisable to stop. Writing may not benefit such people at that time of life and they should consult a physiotherapist.
Implementing the Techniques for Expressive Writing
Before conducting expressive writing, it is advisable to find a serene location where a person can have personal time away from disruptions. “Writing about most worrying thoughts, feelings and apprehensions is an excellent way to start,” notes Jessica Wright, Senior Health and Medical Writer at Paper-Research and Writing Formats. At this stage, there is no need paying attention to grammatical errors, spelling and punctuation. Expressive writing may be connected to dreams, thoughts, issues or memories that bring negative impacts to a person’s life.
Subjects that an individual has been avoiding for some time would also make a good topic. Continuous writing for at least 15 minutes per day for more than half a week will be beneficial to the health of a person. Mild depressions quickly disappear when one prioritizes expressive writing as a habit. In cases where a person runs out of ideas, it is essential to do repetitions to ensure continuous writing. Anonymity and confidentiality while writing are also necessary, as fear for public access may affect the process.
Physical Benefits of Expressive Writing
Most people view expressive writing as a tool for minimizing mental health problems and overcoming stress. Research indicates that several physical health benefits also come with this art. Writing expressively about emotional and disturbing life experiences improves the physical and physiological health of an individual.
Expressive writing differs from journal writing, as it captures the stressful and traumatic scenes in a person’s life and the feelings that come forth. Writing about secrets is simpler than communicating them orally, and people who hate writing can struggle and adapt it successfully for effective therapy. Some people get depressed by viewing their work about feelings, but the pain usually disappears within a short time. Most people, however, exhibit relief, happiness and contentment after the process. When exploring critical topics, one should include objective experiences alongside deepest emotions. An individual should pen down the feelings as well as the sources.
Impacts of Expressive Writing on Mental Health
Initially, people appear to have high expectations for expressive writing. Commitment to the process has always yielded significant benefits to mental health, as individuals overcome confinement, stigma and sleep disorders. Reduced depression is one of the research-proven benefits, as people who write expressively about anxious feelings exhibit lower symptoms than neutral.
Anxiety levels also go down with expressive writing. “For instance, students who write expressively usually give better results in exams compared to the ones who concentrate on revisions,” tells Brian Payton, Chief Academic Consultant at SwiftPapers and EssayTask. Expressive writing diverts people’s thoughts from a scenario, and a feeling of safety prevails.
Post-traumatic stress disorders come with anxiety and sleep-related problems. Expressive writing ends the stress at minimal costs, and companies have used the art as a motivational approach to employees. Expressive writing readily ends non-physical sleep disturbance. Limited sleep causes physical and mental health problems. Therefore, people who fail to sleep due to emotional issues should write expressively to bring comfort.
To sum up, writing expressively about traumatizing emotions brings relief to affected persons. The process is beneficial to both mental and physical health, and users should accurately identify the symptoms of stress and follow appropriate steps for relief. When expressive writing gives negative results, the affected persons should consult physiotherapists.
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