The American Psychological Association claims that 44% of Americans have reported their stress levels going up over the past 5 years, with many in fear of their job, the economy, the political climate, violence and terrorist attacks, and more. These fears are rational, but how are people handling their stress? With the opioid epidemic, it seems many are relying on pain relievers and substances to self-medicate. There are more natural, holistic ways to manage stress, with one effective tool right at the tip of your pen – literally.
Writing therapy is an excellent way to jot down thoughts and concerns to give your brain a “clean slate”. In doing this, you are likely to feel more relaxed, and less stressed. A study published in the journal, Psychotherapy Research, found that participants who were told to engage in writing therapy and express their emotions experienced greater reductions in their anxiety and stress compared to participants who did not. There are many benefits of writing therapy:
- Sort out and clarify your thoughts and emotions
- Reflect on past life experiences you’ve surpassed
- Reflect on your feelings and emotions so that you can make sense of them
- Express difficult emotions, such as anger and frustration, without hurting someone you care about
- Release negative thoughts and emotions so that you can break through to more positivity
One way to express your concerns is to simply write all of them out. Some call this a “worry purge” because you are expelling every single fear or concern onto a sheet of paper. If you decide to do this, make the decision to come back to those concerns when you have a clearer mind. Another prompt you can complete is to finish to the sentence “Right now, I am….” or “I want to be….”. These phrases allow you to express your current feelings, worries, fears, desires, etc., which can make for great reflection later.
The U.S. News states that expressive writing can help people sleep, think, and feel better as well as have richer social lives. As James Pennebaker, a professor from The University of Texas-Austin stated,
“Writing about an emotionally charged subject or an unresolved trauma helps you put the event into perspective and give some structure and organization to those anxious feelings, which ultimately helps you get through it.”
The next time you are feeling stressed (and even if you aren’t), consider spending 15-20 minutes writing about your current feelings. You never know – it could help you resolve some hidden issues that you didn’t realize were still weighing you down.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment center. Our licensed, experienced health care team will work with you to overcome your obstacles and develop tools towards success. We offer a variety of treatment methods, including writing therapy to help you work through past hurts. If you’re ready for treatment, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation.