Taking care of our mental health is equally as important as taking care of our physical health. While there are numerous recommendations and methods for reducing stress, lowering anxiety, and staying mentally healthy, not so many people understand how writing helps you.
Creative writing has been shown to reduce stress and improve your mood. Unfortunately, it can be
difficult to find the energy and motivation to write when you’re feeling low. Even if you enjoy the
process of writing, a depressive episode or period of stress can sap your motivation.
Keep reading to learn how to make creative writing a habit, and use it to boost mental health even at your worst moments.
1. Make Writing an Obligation
When it comes to self-care, we tend to disregard it too often. So many of us dedicate our time to our
professional obligations, studying, and being socially accepted.
As a result, our inner selves are left out and neglected.
But here’s the thing: Self-care isn’t optional.
It’s an important part of your overall healthcare routine. It should be prioritized with eating right, going to doctor’s visits, and working out.
And, since creative writing is self-care, you need to promise yourself you’ll engage in it every day. Here’s what you can do:
- Make creative writing goals
- Create daily creative writing tasks for yourself
- Make it a part of your daily schedule
- Hold yourself accountable for spending time writing
This way, you’ll ensure you’re taking the time out of your busy day to slow down, take a deeper look
inside yourself, and process your emotions
2. Create a Physical Space For Writing
Creative writing is a process that allows you to be in touch with your emotions, feelings, fears, worries, and thoughts. However, if you’re distracted by your surroundings, you won’t be able to do it properly.
To put it simply, you should do everything that’s in your power to immerse in the process of writing, without your mind wandering elsewhere.
This is why you should create a physical space for your writing sessions. The key is simplicity:
- A remote part of your home
- A desk and chair
- A notebook or a laptop
- Pens and pencils
- A cozy pillow
- Inspirational quotes or images
Make sure you have all of this ready at any moment. This will prevent you from wasting time finding a quiet place to write in moments when you feel like doing it.
Be creative in setting the place up and make it according to your taste and interior ideas.
Also, ensure this place gives you a sense of privacy and makes you feel comfortable and relaxed.
3. Write What You Are Able to Write
Now we’ve reached the question of what you’re writing. Some of you may be reading this article
thinking “what if I write something bad?”
The thing is, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to this type of creative writing. Writing for mental health isn’t about creating a masterpiece.
Instead of worrying, try it this way:
- Start with something small and easy
- Write to become inspired and motivated
- Don’t stress about the final result
- Don’t expect to like everything you write
When I was struggling with anxiety attacks, a friend suggested creative writing. At first, I thought I wasn’t capable of doing it. But, with time, I learned to enjoy the process and not stress about the result, and that’s the whole point.Kristin Savage, contributing writer at Studicus & Trust My Paper.
So, instead of worrying about the way your creative process will turn out at the end, focus on those
moments that you spend writing.
Write what you’re able to write at a given moment and not what you feel you should or must write.
That will help you stay true to your creative drive, instincts, and emotions and feel the actual benefits of creative writing.
5. Don’t Edit Yourself
While you write, you’ll probably notice some mistakes that you’ve made. You might even feel like you could change something and formulate it better.
While this typical editing process is desirable when you’re writing something for publishing, in this case, you need to shake it off and disregard it.
- You need to immerse yourself in the process of writing
- You need to write to express your feeling
- You need to write to improve your mood
- Looking for mistakes will shift your focus
- You’ll spend time rethinking every word instead of letting yourself write from deep within
Instead of focusing on creating something “publication-worthy,” you need to let go and write without editing.
Also, don’t deem your attempt a failure because you dislike the final product. It’s the process that matters.
6. Let it Rest
Finally, there’s one last thing we need to make clear.
Although you should avoid editing your work while you write, it doesn’t mean you should never look at it again. In fact, reading what you’ve written might help you process your feelings.
The important thing is to let the written text rest. Here’s what that means:
- Finish writing
- Close your notebook or turn off your tablet
- Let it sit for a day or two
- Come back once you feel the need
- Read what you’ve written
The creative process will guide you while you’re writing. You’ll write some things you may not even be aware of.
Once you come back later, in a different mood, with a different perspective, the text will help you learn about yourself. This will be extremely valuable for your mental health.
Creative writing is a motivating activity that helps you get in touch with your deepest emotions. By
turning it into a habit, you’ll be doing yourself and your mental health a huge favor.
Read about the benefits we’ve covered above and try using them in the process of creative writing.
You’ll be able to feel improvement sooner than you expect.
Acacia’s mission is to provide college students a safe, supportive space in which they receive quality and consistent mental health care that is highly accessible, affordable, specialized, and culturally sensitive. Visit our website to learn more & to begin your journey with us!
Bridgette Hernandez is a Master in Anthropology who is interested in writing and planning to publish her own book in the nearest future. Now she is a content editor at GrabMyEssay. She also works with professional writing companies such as WoWGrade and BidForWriting as a writer. The texts she writes are always informative, based on qualitative research but nevertheless pleasant to read.
Composed by Danielle Sharkey, Acacia Marketing