Writing can be an effective way to manage stress and avoid being driven to the brink of an anxiety attack or mental breakdown. Whenever you are overwhelmed with emotions that you feel like you are close to breaking point, grab a notebook and pen or settle yourself in front of your computer or laptop and start writing or typing whatever it is that goes through your head.
“There’s simply no better way to learn about your thought processes than to write them down,” wrote Psychologist Barbara Markway.
It is never a good idea to allow stress or anxiety to cloud your mind. Failure to find a healthy outlet to manage physical and mental stress may disrupt your psychological equilibrium or can potentially lead to depression. There are countless ways to cope with stress and writing is just one of the many things you can do. What to write doesn’t matter. In fact, there is also a long list of things you can write about. The important thing is you allow yourself to get distracted by the negative thoughts often caused by stress.
Keeping a Journal
Diaries or journals aren’t exactly obsolete. So why not put a notebook and pen to good use and start writing. You can jot down what you’re feeling, whether you’re angry or frustrated or having a bout of melancholy. Psychologist James Pennebaker agreed to this, stating, “The act of thinking about an experience, as well as expressing emotions, seems to be important. In this way, writing helps people to organize thoughts and give meaning to a traumatic experience.”
Expressing your emotions through writing may help calm your mind. It’s a good alternative to having a heartfelt conversation with someone, especially if you are not in the mood for human interaction. Pour all the negative thoughts plaguing your mind into a paper. Don’t let it linger in your head. No one is going to judge or criticize you. Whatever you have written may remain a secret if you wish.
If you are going through problem-related stress, you can write about your problems and all the possible solutions to overcome them. List down what triggers stress or anger or any other emotions you are flooded with so you can always go back and analyze it. Perhaps it may help you figure out the root cause of all your troubles so you can either avoid it in the future or find a way to deal with it.
Blogs and Social Media
However, Joshua Smyth, Ph.D. explains that “venting emotions alone–whether through writing or talking–is not enough to relieve stress, and thereby improve health.” He further emphasizes, “To tap writing’s healing power, people must use it to better understand and learn from their emotions.”
If you prefer to type as opposed to using a notebook and a pen, then you can opt to run a blog. This is an online version of a journal. There are many sites or platforms you can use for blogging, most of which are free. Some platforms offer features that allow you to either keep your entries in private or share them with a few chosen people or circle of friends.
If a wider audience is what you have in mind, some social media platforms allow you to write and express yourself. Some social media, however, may not offer private setting options so you risk having a lot of people read your entries and you might receive unwarranted reactions or opinions which can do more harm than good.
If you do not wish to dwell on your problems or whatever causes your stress, writing fiction may be a way for you to escape reality. Write about an imaginary world you’ve created in your head, about fictional characters armed with personalities you wish you had. They don’t need to be perfect. Remember that you are writing for yourself.
Writing may be a good tool to help release all your pent-up emotions and lower stress levels. Expressing your thoughts through writing can be very therapeutic and may be effective in managing anxiety.