7 Ways How Writing Improves Your Mental Health

Last updated on : March 09 2023

Young man writing in a notebook while sitting down

Article Summary

Writing helps your mind the way exercising does with your body – when you write, your mental state gets fitter, more robust, and more resilient.

Whether you decide to write as part of a job, to try to kickstart an idea you may have for a novel, to make lists to aid you with day-to-day life, or simply writing for the fun of it, writing is proven to have several benefits to your mental health.

Here are seven of these benefits. Jump to the benefit you want by using the links below. 

Introduction - Writing And Mental Health

1. Improves Emotional Intelligence

2. Helps With Anger Management

3. Enhances Concentration

4. It Provides Extra Perks For Hobbyists

5. Increases Your Determination

6. Purges Your Negative Thoughts

7. Relieves Anxiety


Introduction - Writing And Mental Health

Something is gratifying about putting pen to paper. The practice allows you to express yourself through written communication and, if you choose, aids you in engaging with others who read it.

Writing also indulges your mind, keeping it active, and continually thinking.

When you let your thoughts settle on a paper or digital canvas, your psychological state undergoes a dramatic, positive change and, on a larger scale, transformation.

Writing helps your mind the way exercising does with your body – when you write, your mental state gets fitter, more robust, and more resilient.

The effect that writing has on mental health shows itself in a variety of ways, at times serving as a kind of therapy for individuals. This creative process is highly beneficial to your ongoing mental health. 

Whether you decide to write as part of a job, to try to kickstart an idea you may have for a novel, to make lists to aid you with day-to-day life, or simply writing for the fun of it, writing is proven to have several benefits to your mental health.

Here are seven of these benefits. 

1. Improves Emotional Intelligence

Writing improves and strengthens your emotional intelligence. While there are many ways you can do this, one of the most effective is through writing.

To write means to move forward with maintaining your emotional health, which is a part of maintaining mental health. When writing, your emotional intelligence will alter. By conveying your feelings and emotions through writing, you exercise your mind, making it more robust and more flexible.

Writing is proven to be especially useful when you use it as a tool to acknowledge and manage negative emotions.

When you write out negative, depressing thoughts, it helps you face your fears and the things that bother you. As a result, you feel relief and liberation from the emotional burden you have experienced.

In short, writing helps you maintain emotional stability and aids in your mental wellbeing.

2. Helps With Anger Management

Anger management is challenging to develop, particularly if you find it hard to hold your temper.

Sometimes anger and other rage-related symptoms can get the better of us in stressful situations.

Being unable to manage these emotions is known to have negative consequences in your life, whether at your place of employment, in your relationship, or generally in society.

Poorly managed anger can also be debilitating on your mental health too.

One of the best ways to alleviate anger is to take a step back, remove yourself from the situation in question, and write down the challenges you are facing and how they make you feel.

You can write in any way that feels comfortable to you and include any forms of expressive language to get it out of your system. By writing and then reading it back, you may also be able to think of solutions or workarounds for the current issue, and therefore more able to remain calm.

Likewise, when reading your writing back, you may also realize that the problem is actually a non-issue and dissipate your anger completely.

Whether you are an experienced academic or a daydreamer who crafts ethereal writing about the meaning of life – people who learn to control words can subsequently handle their inner demons, too.

3. Enhances Concentration

Learning to focus can be just as tricky as mastering anger management.

It can be tough for you to concentrate on a task when other things are going on around you. Concentration can be especially hard if the job itself is not one that you enjoy.

If you ensure you write often, your mind will be focussing more on the content of your writing. This process of creating content in your thoughts and actively writing it down is what will aid you in improving your concentration.

You may find it useful to start by writing about something important to you or that has occurred in your life, as this will hold your initial focus for longer, as well as being easier to generate content.

It is essential that when you are attempting to improve your concentration and destroy your previous procrastination habit, that you eliminate as much distraction as possible.

Try to pick a quiet room or low-traffic area, and switch off any methods of communication. For example, if you’re writing on your phone, then put it into airplane mode to alleviate the temptation to start scrolling through the internet or messaging friends.

Spending just a small amount of time each day with your thoughts and some writing utensils can do wonders for your focus levels if you stick with it.

4. It Provides Extra Perks For Hobbyists

Your mental health is at its peak when you are undertaking something that captures your passion.

The brain continually seeks forms of pleasure to keep itself healthy so, if you enjoy writing, you can use this to your advantage.

While the other benefits will aid those who write to try to further their mental health, if you can learn to appreciate and enjoy spending time putting pen to paper, then you will be adding to the improvements.

Remember, writing does not have to involve prolonged, arduous essays akin to schoolwork. You can write about anything, whether it’s your day, your feelings, plans for the coming days, journaling, stories, or even letters.

Long story short, if writing makes you happy, then write whenever you can, wherever you have a chance to put your thoughts on canvas.

Write when you’re on a ride, when you’re sitting in front of the silver screen at the cinema, write whenever you have an intense desire to express yourself.

You will soon feel the positive effects of channeling your emotions into prose, both for mental health and endurance.

5. Increases Your Determination

Caught in the chaos of our day-to-day challenges, you might find it challenging to stay purposeful and confident about what you do.

You may feel concerned about the lack of time and energy to make something of our lives and work on self-improvement, especially if the current daily tasks already take up most of the day.

Improving your determination is another considerable challenge that writing can fix for you. By sitting down to compose a whole piece, you develop tenacity and endurance, the qualities that every big commitment needs.

During the writing process, you gradually reinforce these crucial qualities, equipping ourselves to move forward and withstand the snags you face. You can also use shorter forms of writing, such as note-taking, to aid in your determination.

Writing can improve you mentally, but it also will help with planning your day.

You can use notes and plans to help you make the most of your time and allot tasks. By having your jobs in writing, you will be more likely to stick to a plan than if your schedule is only in your mind.

Writing can make things feel more definitive, meaning there is also a sense of accountability if you fail to complete the task in the given time.

Allotting time to both complete daily challenges and furthering yourself means you will automatically be working on your persistence and resolve.

6. Purges Your Negative Thoughts

From time to time, we all have moments of intrusive, negative thoughts that get in the way of living life to the fullest.

Overthinking or overwhelming emotions and feelings can sometimes aid us in working through things or avoiding danger. Still, a lot of the time, they only impede our ability to carry out tasks or be present in the moment.

Any negative thoughts, feelings, or experiences can be worked through and potentially removed with the aid of writing.

According to Diane Barth, an acclaimed New York psychotherapist, keeping a journal, where you can export your abusive thoughts, is a time-proven method for clearing up your mind.

Any negative feelings can be written down and adequately acknowledged, as well as possibly rethought.

Writing down annoyances can also help you avoid arguments or real-world trouble that would be a consequence of following through with any dark thoughts you may have.

7. Relieves Anxiety

While there may be no definitive cure for anxiety, writing can aid you in overcoming any feelings of tension and panic.

These feelings may arise in uncomfortable or stressful situations, with some people manifesting in public or large gatherings. Writing to overcome anxiety is becoming more popular as people learn to overcome stressful experiences and manage their agitation, transitioning into a peaceful, serene state of mind.

Journaling is great for anxiety. Use it to aid you in working through causes of worry, as well as to list facts that will help prevent overthinking and keep your brain in check from imagining fictional scenarios.


Writing is not merely an arduous task that you need to gain a qualification or paycheque. It is fundamental to improving both your cognitive function and your mental health.

You can write for others to help them understand your emotions, or for pleasure, but you can also write simply for yourself to find ways to work through problems or intrusive thoughts, as well as to offload in a way that won’t harm yourself or someone else.

There is no right or wrong way to write, but if you take the time to find a method that works for you, then you may find yourself mentally more robust and more resilient than before.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the questions most frequently asked by our readers.

1. How can writing improve my mental health?

Writing can help improve your mental health in several ways:

  • It can serve as a way to express your emotions and feelings, which can help you process them.
  • It can help you gain perspective on your thoughts and experiences, which can be beneficial for managing stress and anxiety.
  • Writing can be a creative outlet that allows you to explore new ideas and perspectives, which can be empowering and cathartic.

2. What types of writing can improve my mental health?

Many types of writing can benefit your mental health, including journaling, creative writing, poetry, and even writing letters or emails to loved ones.

The key is to find a type of writing that resonates with you and allows you to express yourself in a way that feels authentic and meaningful.

3. How often should I write to see the benefits?

The frequency of your writing is less important than the consistency. However, the more you write, the more likely you are to develop your writing skills and deepen your relationship with the practice.

Even if you only write for a few minutes daily, as long as you make it a regular exercise, you can still experience the mental health benefits of writing.

4. Can writing replace therapy or medication for mental health issues?

Writing can be a helpful complement to therapy or medication for mental health issues, but it is not a replacement.

Writing can be a valuable tool to support your mental health, but you should not use it as a substitute for medical or therapeutic intervention. If you are struggling with mental health concerns, seeking professional support and guidance is essential.

5. What if I'm not a good writer?

Writing is not about being a "good" writer. It is about expressing yourself and engaging with your thoughts and emotions in a way that feels authentic and meaningful.

Don't worry about grammar, punctuation, or spelling – just focus on writing your thoughts on paper. Remember, the act of writing itself can be healing and therapeutic, not the quality of your writing.

6. What if I don't feel comfortable sharing my writing with others?

Sharing your writing with others can be a powerful way to connect with others and receive feedback on your work, but it is not necessary for writing to be a beneficial practice for your mental health.

If you prefer to keep your writing private, that is perfectly fine. You can still experience the benefits of writing by using it as a tool for personal reflection and self-discovery.

7. Can writing help with specific mental health conditions like depression or anxiety?

Writing can be a helpful tool for managing various mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Several studies have shown that expressive writing can effectively reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

However, it is essential to remember that writing is not a substitute for professional treatment. If you are struggling with a mental health condition, seeking support from a mental health professional is important.

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