How expressive writing may help increase your resilience during stressful times

You might not always think about writing as something you can do to improve your wellness. Perhaps you haven’t jotted your thoughts down on paper since you kept a diary when you were younger, but the benefits of writing are still relevant as an adult. This is especially true as if you are looking for simple ways to unwind and process thoughts and feelings while spending most of your time at home. What’s more, the effects of the written word continue to be studied by scientists, and results have been promising. 

Journaling has been shown to help combat stress, depression and even anxiety by identifying stressors you may have. By releasing your emotions on paper, it may help identify your fears or concerns and give you more insight into how to prioritize and manage them. 

In one study, those asked to spend 20 minutes, three times a week writing about personal, emotional issues that had affected their life, saw a reduction in their depression symptoms and anecdotally noted they felt better overall. Research, while still ongoing, has also found writing may help increase feelings of resilience with those who have experienced traumatic events. By putting down those stressful events on paper, participants in this study were able to adapt and feel less overwhelmed. 

Interested in trying it out for yourself? It can help to get into a schedule. Giving yourself the time to write — even if it’s just 10 minutes a day — can be an important first step. That way, it can be a regular break in your day when you are able to write and process feelings. Make this a time for yourself and your own well-being. Remember, your writing doesn’t have to follow any rules or guidelines — it’s a chance to fully express yourself without limitations. 

Writing for yourself can be part of a rounded wellness routine during stressful times. And it also can provide a more permanent record of important moments in your life, which you can return to in a few days — or years — in order to understand how far you’ve come.

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