Benefits of Writing For Your Brain and Body
Expressive writing has been linked with psychological benefits, such as improved mood, greater well-being, lower stress levels and fewer depressive symptoms. Lower blood pressure, improved lung and liver functioning and decreased time spent in the hospital are among the physical benefits. Specifically:
A brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists revealed that expressing feelings, in verbal or written words, reduces activity in the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center, and engages the thinking brain. This brain pattern can make sadness, anger, and pain less intense.
Research suggests expressive writing may also offer physical and psychological benefits to people by boosting immune function. In tests, writing significantly improved health outcomes in four areas: reported physical health, psychological well-being, physiological functioning, and general functioning.
Another study found that simply writing about feelings before a stressful task helped chronic worriers’ brains perform more efficiently. Their brains were less active and performed a task using fewer resources.
Writing about feelings after a traumatic event can actually make physical wounds heal faster, according to one experiment.
Participants assigned to write in the journals had faster healing times than those instructed to avoid writing about their feelings.
In Your Brain on Ink, the authors explain how you can use writing to engage your thinking brain and calming parasympathetic nervous system to harness self-directed neuroplasticity to beneficially rewire your brain.
The act of using a pen or pencil to put thoughts on paper can help you retain the information you are writing, according to research. In short, writing by hand forces the brain to process information promoting comprehension and retention.