Writing to reduce stress

But not to worry. There’s an easy way to keep your stress away – Writing! Yes. It might seem like an additional task, but putting down words can help unleash the barricade of emotions inside of you. So the next time you feel down in the dumps, get a pen and paper (or a keyboard, we’re not picky), and get to work. It’s an instant mood booster!

We have good authority on this. The folks down at the Psychology department of Texas have found that converting thoughts into words helps people overcome emotional inhibition. Dr. James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas asked 46 students to write down anything (from trivial to traumatic topics) for four consecutive days. He then found that these students visited the college’s health clinic less than students who did not do this expressive writing exercise. 

This study also says that writing can help a person break out a cycle of brooding and emotional constipation. Writing is also reflective by nature. If you’re stuck at a particular problem or a situation, putting it down in words can help you find clarity and solutions too. 

Another study at Cambridge shows that just writing about the events that are causing you stress or anxiety, might have positive mental and emotional benefits. Even 15-20 minutes of self-reflection can tremendously impact your mood and happiness. 

You don’t need to put aside hours of your day to write something down. In fact, it’s simple to incorporate it into your daily life.

Keeping The Stress Away At Work: How Writing Helps

Wait… taking up writing at work? Isn’t this counterproductive to lowering stress? Not if you do it right. There is a simple way to hone your creative skills at work. Just ask if you can contribute to the company blog. Not only is this a great way to incorporate your writing into your daily life, but it’s also a great way to learn and grow. And also to get that extra kudos from your boss for taking up the initiative. 

With the help of the content team, you can understand the topics to write on, and practice your writing at work. If your office doesn’t have a separate content team, just take over a few writing projects from the marketing team. Try coming up with innovative blogs or wrack them brain cells for creative ideas to write copy! 

And if you’re in a creative field, then taking up writing projects at work is the best thing you can do. Creativity is like a muscle, and by writing, you’re essentially exercising that muscle. It’s difficult when you start off but gets a  lot better with practice. With time and practice, the writing flows naturally like a stream caressing the hillside.

Writing at work helps you get better at your job too. Say you’re in advertising, and currently working on an ad campaign. Try writing down a story about your customer using your product. 

What do they think? How do they feel? Why do they make the choices they make? It helps develop your empathy. 

On the other hand, if you’re unsure of your writing abilities and still want to stay a part of the creative process, you can always mentor and guide the team actually working on the writing. Brainstorming and coming up with ideas for the writing process all tickle the creative muscle in your brain, and help you destress. Whether you’re working with an in-house team or an agency offering content writing services, you can still write down an outline or rough draft, and give it to the team for proof-reading, fine-tuning, or for taking it to publication-ready status.

Unwinding At Home Through Writing

Don’t limit your creative process to work. You can continue to write things down when at home. Only this time, you can make it as personal as you like. It doesn’t take much of your day. About 20 minutes before going to bed or after waking up will do well. Do you have a story in mind? How about the story of you? Or someone interesting you know? You should put it out there instead of bottling it up inside of you!

Write a story and express yourself – it’s all inside your head! Image Credit: Clinton Library

Writing affirmations or even something as mundane as a to-do list can make your day so much better (well, it’s a start!). Positive affirmations let you kickstart your morning on an optimistic note. Just like you write affirmations in the morning, write down a list of things for which you’re grateful. They set the tone for the day – no room for negative thoughts here! 

To-do lists are more helpful than you think. It’s not about compulsively sticking to them, but more about organizing your thoughts. And writing them down helps you make sense of things better. Having a written down to-do list also keeps you from forgetting important tasks.

Need to be ready for that huge meeting? Have to send an important email? Long time since you’ve spoken with your friend from college? Write it all down. 

It saves you anxiety and time. You’ll be surprised at how much of the day is left to you if you get things done on time. 

Maintaining A Journal

Another great way to use writing to boost cope with stress is journaling. Every day before going to bed, try to sum up that day’s events. What made you happy. What bothered you. The emotions you felt. It’s almost meditative. 

Journaling can help you gauge your emotions and pinpoint the problem areas in your life. This writing exercise is fantastic for gaining self-awareness. 

Blog It Out!

Blogging is another way to put your emotions across in words. Feel passionately about something? It could be food, travel, animals, movies, or anything under the sky for that matter.

If you love it, then blog about it. Doing so makes your voice feel heard, and can do amazing things for your emotional well-being. Plus, there is the money factor. Some blogs get paid to advertise. So once you get there, this hobby can turn into an additional source of income. 

There’s no good or bad writing. All you need to do is take a deep breath and get started. Writing helps in many ways. Sharing your thoughts, finding an outlet for creativity – it’s the key to a subtle form of happiness. So, why do you write? And how has it helped you?