The Psychological Benefits of Writing

If you love writing, there is nothing that can stop you from thinking of the right words to say and from writing the right terms to describe how you feel. But did you know that there are psychological benefits of writing? Here are some of them:

Writing and happiness

Much of the research on writing and happiness deals with “expressive writing,” or jotting down what you think and how you feel. Even blogging “undoubtedly affords similar benefits” to private expressive writing in terms of therapeutic value.

Writing and communicating clearly

Laziness with words creates difficulty in describing feelings, sharing experiences, and communicating with others. Being able to flesh out thoughts in your mind only to have them come stumbling out when you speak is supremely frustrating. Fortunately, regular writing seems to offer some reprieve.

In both emotional intelligence and in hard sciences like mathematics, writing has been shown to help people communicate highly complex ideas more effectively. Writing helps eliminate “it sounded good in my head” by forcing your hand; brains forgive fuzzy abstractions, prose does not.

Writing and gratitude

As the authors of one study noted, subjects who reflected on the good things in their life once a week by writing them down were more positive and motivated about their current situations and their futures.

The catch was, when they wrote about them every day, the benefits were minimal. This makes sense; any activity can feel disingenuous and just plain boring if done too often. It seems like the key is to reflect and write about gratitude regularly, but not begrudgingly often.

Writing and your “mental tabs”

Have you ever had too many Internet tabs open at once? It is a madhouse of distraction. When I feel like my brain has too many tabs open at once, it’s often the result of trying to mentally juggle too many thoughts at the same time.

Writing gives form to your ideas and gets them out of your head, freeing up bandwidth and preventing you from crashing your browser like a late night downward spiral on Wikipedia.

Writing and learning

Information often sticks better when it’s learned as though it needs to be taught or re-written in your own words. This concept of having a “writer’s ear” never fully clicked with me until I started writing regularly.

There’s a certain discipline required to create interesting written work that demands the individual be receptive and focused on finding new sources of information, inspiration, and insight. I’ve read books, listened to podcasts/radio, and watched videos I would normally have put off in order to learn something new so that I might write about later.