You probably know from your own experience that verbalizing feelings, whether when talking through them with a specialist, during a friendly conversation with a friend or family member, or putting them down on paper can significantly improve well-being, help get your thoughts as well as feelings in order. Until not long ago, people could not give a clear explanation for this phenomenon. However, research shows that writing can do a lot to help both your brain and body.
Noting something, especially by hand, can improve brain function, boost intelligence, memory, help solve problems, generate new ideas, simply quiet your brain, organize your thoughts. We will explain what makes writing so useful, as well as how to get all the aforementioned benefits from it in this article. Just keep reading and find out for yourself!
Benefits of Writing for the Brain and Body
Expressing emotions through writing leads to positive psychological changes, such as improved mood, boosted overall well-being, reduced stress levels, relief of some depression symptoms. Positive physical changes include getting lowered blood pressure, improving lung and liver function. In particular, one brain study, conducted by psychologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that expression of feelings in words, either spoken or written, reduces the activity of the amygdala (the emotional center of the brain), activates the brain area responsible for thinking. This is how writing can help reduce sadness, anger, even relieve pain.
Other research suggests that expressing emotion on paper can also have a positive physical and psychological effect on people by improving immunity. Conducted tests show that writing significantly improved indicators of physical health, psychological well-being.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that simply putting down feelings into written words before a challenging assignment helped patients with chronic anxiety perform better. The brain was less active and used fewer resources.
Other Surprising Benefits of Writing
1. It improves memory
Have you ever had a situation when you write down a to-do list or phone number, and when you end up needing it, it turns out that you remember it perfectly, having no need to consult your notes? This is no coincidence. When you write something down, you engage your temporal lobe which is responsible for storing information. As a result, your brain increasingly concentrates on the information being written. Learn more about human memory and its value.
2. Clichés make you disengage
Have you ever read a text that consists almost entirely of clichés? When you read it, it often seems that the brain is completely shut down and can’t even comprehend such text. Well, there is an explanation for this. Reading and writing information that doesn’t stand out causes little brain stimulation, which is usually achieved by using visual elements and metaphors in text. So try to avoid clichés when writing. If you’re going through a period of personal transformation or self-discovery and you feel like you’re overcoming great adversity, you could even write your own Hero’s Journey tale. Talking about the difficulties you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are can be a great way to let go of the past and help you on your path of transformation to a higher self, psychological healing, and spiritual growth.
3. Keeping a diary improves health
Few of us keep a diary, writing down everything that happened during the day. Those who do can easily put our emotions, experiences in writing, organize their mind, and uncover some good ideas they may need for the future. We know that journaling can help cope with traumatic or otherwise unpleasant events faster, relieve grief and stress, but in fact, the benefits of journaling are much more significant.
Researchers at the University of Texas have found that keeping a diary increases the production of T cells – immune cells that help the body fight infections. There is also scientific evidence that journaling helps develop both hemispheres of the brain.
4. Influences intelligence
One can you discuss writing effects on the brain without mentioning that it literally makes you smarter. Writing texts increases mental clarity in a way that verbal communication never can. Writing on a topic requires a clearer understanding of it than talking about it. Before you write something, you need to reflect, organize your thoughts, only then adapt the information for writing.
If you’re a writer, you probably have an impressive vocabulary. As we write, we begin to pick up on words and phrases, used repeatedly in our texts. We understand that reading such text will be boring. This makes us look for new expressions to use, thus expanding vocabulary.
5. Leave keyboard for pen and paper
How many notebooks are there on your desk right now? How many pens do you have on hand? If your answer is “none”, you probably prefer writing things down on your phone or computer instead. However, you should know that a physical act of writing on paper engages your brain far more than typing away at your keyboard does. You use motor skills to pick up a pen and write, your brain works by recognizing the lines and shapes that create each letter, and you are aware of every word formed in your brain. So, if you don’t have a habit of writing things down by hand, you are missing out!
6. Stimulates new ideas
Everyone knows that reading increases vocabulary and improves your writing style. This is true, but the best thing a person who wants to improve their writing skills can do is write as often as possible. Let us ask you, do you ever develop ideas for new texts, projects while working on the old ones? If you do, there is a simple explanation. Although ideas may not always relate to the project you are currently working on, the process of writing itself stimulates the brain, due to which it generates a variety of ideas. This is how writing can help you get inspired and prepared for future projects.
7. Got a problem? Better to note it down
In order to solve a problem, you need to understand and analyze it first, investigate its details in order to find a solution. What could be more useful in the said scenario than writing a problem down? Describing a problem on paper helps you feel like you have more control over it, and better understand what you are dealing with. Making notes on the problem will help you explore its details and dig deeper to find a solution. When you see all the ideas in front of you on paper, it makes it easier for your brain to process them, come up with a solution. Moreover, writing down problems and working on them on paper develops your ability to solve problems in the future.
Healing Power of Writing
In addition to all the benefits of writing, we can’t deny that it is simply enjoyable. When you feel like life or random thoughts overwhelm you, noting them is a way to work through your feelings, get your thoughts in order, and find meaning in everyday things. It also becomes a way to feel some control where we usually don’t have any.
When we don’t know what else can be done, putting words on paper feels like something tangible, real. It makes it appear like the process of change is started. When we’re not in the mood to talk to anyone, writing can be our voice. It helps us learn and express emotions. Journaling is a way to work through pain, fear, not one’s accomplishments, and track progress. Looking back on your notes can help get perspective on our lives, the journey we took.
Writing can also help us on our journey inwards. It is very soothing for our brain and soul. Find out more about the inner journey. Some thoughts and ideas can seem too vague, but putting them down on paper can help them gain clarity, become approachable, so you could work on them. This is how writing can help you heal your mind, one word at a time.
When All is Said and Done
Surely we are not alone in our fondness for writing. How do you feel after spending a couple of hours writing a text, an article, a new chapter in your journal? If you are feeling relaxed, energized, or inspired, you are not alone. Many people claim that writing affects how they feel, how they think, how they perceive their life, and even an entire world. Indeed, writing affects the brain much more deeply than we usually give it credit to, so we are thankful to have discovered such an easy yet fun way to benefit our minds and souls!
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