The Psychological Benefits of Writing

Whether you find yourself writing for fun, for self-help through journaling or just to develop a platform for creation to augment an audience. The method of writing is simplistic – a skill that doesn’t require any prior knowledge. The easiness of just picking up a notebook and a pen and descend into the flow of your thoughts as you cement your troubles or potential ideas. As an activity, I do underestimate its benefits. However, being accountable to write for my blog channel and my newsletter, writing has become an escape for discovery. In this article, I want to take this opportunity to explore various other benefits of writing.

Writing enlarges happiness and reduces stress

In the research paper, the effects of writing were examined on a group of 81 undergraduates. The students were tasked with writing daily for 20 minutes for five months. It was highlighted that writing about life goals was significantly less upsetting than writing about trauma and was associated with a significant increase in well-being. Writing is a form of meditation, a practice of self-healing. To communicate our deepest thoughts, to mind dump views that are off constant worry without being judged. Keeping that in mind – to practice journaling is a measurable way to monitor our thoughts as means of self-reflection. It helps us decode stressful information we encounter daily. The concept of Morning Pages has been ever-so useful because I’ve been able to contextualise ideas, goals and any form of worry. A research study called ‘The Gender Gap and Goal Setting’ found that people who wrote about their goals vividly performed better at achieving them.

So, the question we need to consider why does it help to write down about your goals?

  • Writing down anything occurs at two levels:
    • Written storage – writing down goals on external storage can be reviewed and accessed. I often use ‘sticky notes’ that are usually placed on my vision board.
    • Encoding – the biological process where the information travel’s into our hippocampus to be analysed. This filters information concerning what gets remembered and what becomes eliminated. Writing improves the process of encoding, which helps us remember information for a prolonged time.

Writing increases the level of gratitude

To account for the blessings and positive endeavour’s we should practice writing these moments in our day. Gratitude practice through a gratitude journal creates an enlarging material to reminisce as we get older.

Here are a few things to consider regarding gratitude writing:

  • Enhanced positivity: Whilst reflecting upon the positive endeavours of our day, the natural inclination of such practice creates a positive mindset. By being thankful for the materialistic components of our life, we mitigate negative emotions. 
  • Enhanced self-esteem: Practising gratitude writing improves one’s self-esteem; it improves self-belief. By not dwelling on the comparison spectrum with others, we appreciate the cards we hold that life has dealt us.    
  • Improved sleeping pattern: Psychologically speaking, if the start of the day begins with positive reflection so, should the end of the day. To close off the accountability loop, reflecting on gratitude practice at the end of the day creates a reflection experience that is full of hope. In a continuous form of gratitude practice, a habit of self-reflection creates an energy of contentment and satisfaction. As a result, it reduces stress.

Writing improves communication

Improved communication engenders second-order thinking, which is the result of creating a web of connections. Through the expression of writing, the ability to deliver from simple to complex ideas becomes easier to do so.

Further points to consider: 

1 Engendering a thinking bug

  • Writing often can form a thinking bug which allows us to construct opinions that enables us to view a topic or an area of interest in a holistic manner.
  • Practising to write meaningful reflection is a means to highlight and explore views we consciously think about and such views can direct how we approach day to day activities. For instance, part of my morning pages is to constantly remind myself – let go of my ego and stay humble in the process that life has laid for me. Such sayings act like a mantra that impacts how I communicate with people that I tend to come across.

2 Enhanced vocabulary and articulation

  • Writing often compliments an improved vocabulary. This is reflected in the way we articulate our thoughts in our everyday communication with others.
  • Acquiring feedback – through blogging or a newsletter channel, I’m positioning myself to create a surface area to impact my thought process, which acts to provide constructive feedback.
  • Improved vocabulary – the retention of improved vocabulary does take time. I have a list of words that I don’t utilise in my writing – this creates a level of thinking where I seek out words that better capture the situation I’m trying to describe.

Writing enhances learning

Writing develops a web of connection that creates new forms of learning. Trying to understand the complexity of what you have learned is better understood when we contextualise it through writing. As a result, expanding the knowledge base of various topics, which plays a critical role in not being left out of the conversation. In hindsight, writing can improve critical thinking.

In this published paper, the author highlights that writing improves critical thinking allowing individuals to critically evaluate ideas as a cultivator and an enabler for higher-order thinking.

The theoretical approach to writing as highlighted by Bangert-Drowns et al. stated specific type of writing influences the learning process. In the conducted meta-analysis, he emphasised that the presence of prompts stimulated metacognitive processing such as monitoring and regulation of one own’s learning process. With a self-regulation view, writing does not improve learning but acts as a medium that facilitates better cognitive and metacognitive analysis.

Writing creates memories

I have been practising the idea of Homework for life. It highlights the importance of story-worthy moment within the day as a growing process. It’s about building memories of the day to write about the moments that have added value, or elements of delight that makes the day a memorable moment. A habit of creating memories that can be recalled at moments of notice.


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I am a writer and a graduate engineer working in Leicester, UK.

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