For many of us, life can be hectic at the best of times. Adult life is packed with seemingly endless responsibilities, and you can easily feel as if there’s always something important you ought to be doing. This is particularly true of the modern workplace, where a horrible workaholic culture is thriving and seeping into our personal lives. Consequently, we have to find ways to not only let off steam but also to separate ourselves from these stress factors in our lives.

I’ll openly admit that I’m terrible at this.

Meditation is one great way to achieve this separation, but it’s never really worked for me as I just can’t get past the whole “thoughts passing through your mind and floating away” vibe. However, there’s another method you may have overlooked that’s equally effective (for me anyway) – writing. Whilst meditation is all about clearing your mind of thought, writing can either involve externalising your thoughts or escaping from them entirely. Either way, the simple act of scribbling on a page or typing into a computer can do wonders for your stress levels and overall mental wellbeing. Here are just a few possible outlets for writing that you could explore and that I’ve explored that have worked for me.

Journalling

While it’s often neglected, perhaps for having a slightly ‘tweenage’ feel to it, writing a journal is possibly the best example of externalising your thoughts. Plus, it doesn’t have to solely contain gossip about school crushes and Christmas wish lists! The great thing about a journal or diary is that it allows you to record your feelings and experiences so you can revisit them.

When you’re caught up in a whirlwind of stress, it can be incredibly difficult to retain a sense of perspective on your situation. The beauty of writing it down at the time is that you can reflect on your mental state more objectively. Plus, the process of writing itself can be a cathartic, allowing your worries to spill onto the page.

Sometimes you just need to get your feelings out. Here's why writing is good for your mental health.Click To Tweet

writing is good for your mental health

Blogging

Blogging has been around for a while now but is still as popular as ever (see, look at me blog!!). In many ways it has similar benefits to writing a journal, especially in that it provides a platform to externalise your state of mind in writing. The key difference, though, is the element of sharing with a community. While of course we all need our own private spaces, we are also social creatures who can benefit from community support, or simply sharing our story.

The topic your blog covers doesn’t exactly have to be personal, though; it could also be about anything you’re interested in. Plus, it’s really straightforward to get started, as anyone can get started for free on a platform like Blogger or WordPress, which also have easy options for the design of your blog. This way, you can enhance your enjoyment of your hobbies and interests by engaging with like-minded people. Just remember, the key is about what you can get out of it personally, not necessarily about becoming a popular blogger!

writing is good for your mental health

An alternative creative outlet

Many people believe that if they don’t have exceptional talent in music or poetry, then it’s not worth pursuing. However, there’s real value in using art to express yourself, even if you don’t think you’re going to be the next Shakespeare any time soon. Having a creative outlet is a highly constructive way to process your thoughts and emotions, as opposed to letting them fester. If you’re feeling tense or overwhelmed by something, try expressing it in poetry or song lyrics. It can take any form you want, but the important part is that it allows you to vent what you feel, not whether it’s ‘good poetry’ or not (whatever that is!).

Want more resources?

  • If you’re anything like me, you’re going to want a shiny book to start your writing journey. I can’t get enough of Ohh Deer notebooks, available on ASOS. Pretty and practical.
  • This book of writing prompts is a great way of getting started if you’ve got a bit of writers block.
  • Want something special you can keep? This simple 5 year One Line A Day Diary will give you something amazing to look back on if you keep it up!

Do you use writing when you are feeling anxious or stressed, or do you have another way of overcoming overwhelm? Let me know how you support your mental health in the comments below as I’m always looking for new ways to calm my active mind.

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Writing | Mental Health | Journalling | Millennials

Writing | Mental Health | Journalling | Millennials
Writing | Mental Health | Journalling | Millennials

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  • Silvija Rimkiene

    I am also one of those who buys cute books to write in!!! Loved your article

    https://www.risilvjaplace.com/

  • LC

    Absolutely agree with all your points. I’ve kept a diary since I was 15 and it’s much cheaper than say, therapy. I actively seek out new journals from around the world whilst I travel, too.

    • So true – I’ve recently been keeping a gratitude journal and it has really helped 🙂 Loved the idea of picking up new journals from around the world!

  • Esperanza

    I think writing is a great creative outlet and a way of expressing yourself! 🙂

  • Anna Harris

    Hi, Sam! First, I love your name! (Sam Sparrow?! Did your parents come up with that, or did you re-name yourself? Either way, NICE!!) Second, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the therapeutic value of writing. I really agree. I started out journaling as a way to keep my head above water as I battled severe PTSD. Now that my head AND shoulders are (usually) above water, I’ve found blogging to be so helpful to my continued process of healing from childhood trauma. So tips back, as you suggested? Hmmm…you made a lot of my points in this post. One additional thought: blogging or other kinds of public writing mediums is something that is good at a certain time and place, but not something to enter into lightly during times of severe mental health struggles. I’ve mostly received lots of positive feedback, but anytime we write publicly, we also risk receiving…challenging or discouraging feedback, which can be especially hard if we’re writing about vulnerable topics, you know? Okay, long enough comment 😉 Feel free to check me out at http://www.thawingout.org

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