Therapy through pen and paper

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Therapy through pen and paper

Holly Eberly, Senior Contributor

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When most people think of writing, they dread the thought of long essays and boring assignments. If treated the right way, though, writing can be an enjoyable way to improve one’s lifestyle. The best ways to accomplish this is through tracking, mental relief, and gratitude. 

The best way to improve life issues is to start by writing them down. After all, one cannot solve a problem efficiently without addressing and diagnosing the issue first. Most of people’s major struggles – sleep, food consumption, dieting, finances – can be understood better if people tracked their history. For example, if someone is struggling with finances, writing down when and where they spend their money can help them manage how to better utilize it in the future. Tracking is a great way to reflect upon the past and change negative aspects of one’s life by bringing focus to their bad habits. Keeping a journal of things such as one’s sleep schedule, food consumption, workout routine and financial status is a great start. Therefore, something as simple as writing things down can help trace previous mistakes to better prepare for the future. 

Additionally, writing can help with mental relief and has been proven to clear the mind. 

Though putting thoughts on paper makes some people uncomfortable, it helps someone become more self aware. Being aware of surroundings, and analyzing one’s feelings can help someone gain a deeper understanding about the situations they endure. Sorting the negative and positive aspects of life on paper helps someone break down life itself, and guides someone on how to make their quality of life better. 

YSU student Kennedy Lisowski who journals regularly about her life said, “My favorite part about journaling is reading entries days, weeks or years later and having all those small little details, about whatever it was that happened, written down that your big picture memory wouldn’t remember. Having word for word conversations and your thoughts and feelings of the situation written and remembered when you normally would not remember such things is so fun.” 

Writing down memories and going back to read them later can bring joy to the writer and help them appreciate the past. Having a similar effect, writing down negative aspects of one’s life and then destroying the paper afterwards helps people mentally remove these negative thoughts, and prepare for a better future. Overall, writing has many positive effects on someone’s mental health and can be a great way to gain an understanding to better control one’s life.

The benefits of writing do not stop with mental health. Writing about traumatic events has been proven to increase the writer’s physical health, as well. In a study conducted by Kavita Vedhara, professor of Health Psychology at the University of Nottingham, students were asked to write about the most stressful times of their lives and had a small amount of tissue removed from their arms. BBC reports that “The people from the expressive writing group were six times more likely to have a wound that had healed within 10 days than the people in the control group.” This is because journaling strengthens one’s mental health, which in turn strengthens their immune system. Thus, writing is not only therapeutic for the mind but is good for strengthening one’s physical health, as well. 

Lastly, writing can be beneficial because it can help someone reflect on themselves and practice gratitude. 

Lisowski said, “I also like journaling because it allows me to look back and find a sense of growth in not only my life, but also my writing.” 

Like Kennedy, many others like to journal to set goals for themselves and track their progress. Having a goal written down makes someone more likely to pursue it since it makes an idea in someone’s head “official”. When someone only thinks of a goal, there is a greater temptation to change it or bend the rules since all they would have to do is alter their thought. Putting the goal on paper makes it set in stone, making people more willing to complete it. Additionally, writing goals can be a good way to help someone remember exactly what they are trying to achieve. With lives as busy as the average american’s, it can be easy to forget good ideas that pop into people’s heads throughout the day. Putting thoughts on paper reassures that these objectives are not forgotten. As a result, people can achieve great things through writing because of its ability to remind them of their exact intentions.

Overall, putting pen to paper is a great way for someone to gain more control of their life. Writing can help with both mental and physical health, and allows someone to reflect on their lives. Having the ability to physically track one’s past to alter their future for the better is a privilege that many take for granted. Though writing essays or typing up reports can be boring, do not be afraid to discover all the other forms of writing which can be much more enjoyable and helpful to one’s lifestyle.