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We all do little things to boost the way we feel and think throughout the day. Something as simple as taking a walk or eating a piece of chocolate can brighten your mood almost instantly, thanks to certain chemical reactions that occur in the brain.

But these momentary pleasures are just that: momentary. If you’re going through something complex and need a creative outlet that allows you to express what you’re feeling, remember it, and process it, you need a more permanent practice.

That’s where writing comes in.

A popular practice in therapy, the act of writing or journaling can help you better comprehend your thoughts and feelings. This is because writing tends to rouse questions about your life and direction, which is the principal reason that so many highly successful people keep journals.

“Journaling is one of the best methods of self-care therapy,” says life coach and author Dr. Stacia Pierce. “Once the words and images hit the paper, you have now crystallized a thought or idea.”

Through the process of populating a blank page with letters and words, writing can be a useful mental health tool that both records your experiences and allows you to work through them.

As Mental Health Awareness Month begins, it’s worth learning about the ways that you can use writing to support your mental well-being. There’s real power behind the pen—here’s why.

Use writing for mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are tried-and-true techniques for improving mental wellness, but can writing have the same effect? Research published by Cambridge University Press revealed how the act of writing for a mere 20 minutes each day can work in much the same way.

After engaging in daily “expressive writing” without downplaying any emotions, participants who wrote freely and vividly about their feelings had better mental health indexes than those who wrote without this direction.

By focusing on a particular moment and getting it all out there on the page, you can free yourself from any of the other concerns or anxieties that are crowding your mind. This way, you can use writing as an avenue to mindfulness and as a way of relieving stress.

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Diana Melnic

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