With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, it’s no surprise that more and more people are suffering from the effects of depression and other mental wellness conditions linked to high levels of stress. Traditional treatments for depression often include medication, but there are many other ways to ward off the symptoms. One such option is writing, a practice that has huge benefits on overall mental health. Here are the top 7 ways it can help.
- Treats traumatic experiences – Trauma is a contributor to feelings of depression, but a study reports that writing about the emotions involved with the experience has significant benefits on the mental and physical outcome of recovery. Writing about the trauma provides an outlet that lets a person explore the event and the subsequent feelings it produced. Getting it all out on paper is therapeutic and improves the odds of health and mental well-being in both the short and long term.
- Reducing stress – Experts say that writing can help keep people with depression to focus on their negative thoughts. It’s also a good way to calm the mind so a person with depression can sleep. In fact, many mental health professionals are adding writing in a journal to their traditional treatment recommendations. Stress can really exacerbate symptoms of depression so managing it is a prime way to be sure that the condition is controlled. It has been revealed that stress drives depression by lowering mood, increasing irritability and impairing concentration. Stress relieving techniques can help control the stress and thereby control the depression.
- Expressing feelings – As mentioned previously, expressing emotions is an important part of treating and recovering from depression. Sometimes people with depression use other means of getting their emotions out, such as cutting or using drugs or alcohol. Writing offers an obvious, and a much healthier, solution to expressing the emotions associated with having depression. Once the emotions are on paper, they can be dealt with in a healthy and beneficial way. Often, people find that they are harbouring emotions that they didn’t even realise were playing a part in their depression.
- Increases awareness – Sometimes writing opens up feelings and thoughts that are hidden. By allowing oneself the chance to explore feelings, it builds awareness of the emotions and the effects of the depression. Often, this awareness is a good way to seek treatment or discover specific methods of treating the condition. Expressive writing is an way to delve into emotions and thoughts as a way to come to terms with them by being aware they are there.
- Offers control – Having depression often causes a sense of not having control over one’s feelings. Writing in a journal gives back that control. Having things written down calms the chaos in one’s mind and offers a starting point for finding solutions to problems. Writing also gives people a role in their treatment that they have power over. This sense of power can help shift negative thoughts to positive ones, something that is very important in the effective treatment of depression.
- Reveals patterns – Recording thoughts and feelings allows one to notice a pattern in symptoms. Logging on a daily basis can help people determine when they experience symptoms and what events can trigger them. Certain times of day, hunger, interactions with specific people, and stressful situations can often exacerbate depression and a journal can help track that so steps can be taken to alleviate symptoms in those circumstances.
- Changes perspective – Writing in a journal offers up the chance to use positive self-talk. Recording affirmations and acknowledging gratitude can help shift the focus on from the depression to the parts of life that offer hope and happiness. This is a powerful way to retrain the brain toward positive thoughts and shift them away from the negative ones. This fresh view of the world is a great way to ward off the symptoms of depression by giving a new outlook on the world and how to navigate it.
It’s important to remember that writing in a journal is not a substitute for traditional methods of treating depression. However, when used in conjunction with it, there is a significant increase in the mood a reduction in symptoms.
To truly benefit from writing to ease depression, the experts it is suggested to find time to write every day for at least 20 minutes. The goal is to avoid writing down negative things, but simply to explore the symptoms or events that caused the depression in the first place. Writing in a notebook is a great choice, but a tablet or laptop are other options that work just as well. Journalling is often a step that has powerful benefits on depression and is something that anyone can do.
Brandon Stanley is a professional independent writer who works for Rush My Essay. Among other things, he is interested in writing articles concerning psychology and self-growth. Apart from that, Brandon loves travelling and playing the piano. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.