As savvy young professionals we all know that to perform at the top of our abilities we must make personal wellness a top priority. We engage in physical activity to keep our bodies healthy, strong, and looking great. We work hard to get a good education, and strive to continue learning in order to keep our minds sharp. We also go to great lengths to build and maintain meaningful social and familial relationships to help in the ever-important balance of business and pleasure. So often, however, young professionals tend to forget that as part of a holistic approach to wellness, our emotional health is also important and plays a major part in our successes. While seeing a psychologist, or any other type of mental health practitioner, has been proven beneficial, we may not all have the time, money, or available resources to do so on a regular basis. As part of your emotional and mental health care plan, adding a daily writing routine will help keep your stress levels low, your self-confidence high, and your emotional state stable.
The scoop on writing
Psychologists are known for using popular techniques such as talk therapy, visualization, and relaxation exercises. New research now shows, however, that the benefits of organizing thoughts and disclosing feelings can be even more positively developed through the process of writing. The physical act of putting pen to paper forces you to slow down, and encourages logic to play alongside your emotions. The writing process allows you to structure and organize, but more importantly to reflect upon your thoughts and feelings by providing tangible evidence of what’s going on inside your mind.
For the mind, and the body
New research has also found that expressing feelings in the form of writing after a trauma or unsettling experience improves not only emotional health, but physical health as well. In his book Emotion, Disclosure, and Health, author James W. Pennebaker states, “investigators have now found that writing about traumatic experiences produces improvements in immune functions, drops in physician visits for illness, and better performance at school and work”.
Writing for YPs
As an exercise for young professionals, daily writing allows you to create a lasting record of your feelings, thoughts, challenges, and triumphs, which can be reflected upon, added to, revisited, or thrown away. In a society full of expensive quick fixes for our many ailments, writing is special because it is nearly free, and requires minimal tools. Writing is also unique in that it is available to anyone with basic skills, and can be done just about anywhere, anytime. When writing for emotional wellbeing, keep in mind that it is just for you, doesn’t have to adhere to any strict grammar, spelling, or style criteria, and doesn’t have to be shared with anyone if you don’t wish to.
Consider adding daily journaling, poetry writing, creative free writing, or simple goal listing to your regular wellness routine, to ensure that your emotional health is as strong as your physical heath, keen intellect, and social relationships.
To help you get started, check out these notable guides:
The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets
Writing the Mind Alive: The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice
Writing to Heal the Soul: Transforming Grief and Loss Through Writing
Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions
Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development