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Apart from being a tool that helps us store and communicate important information, writing is also an easily accessible and flexible type of therapy. That’s reason enough to celebrate and start looking at writing as a catalyst to improved mental health, academic and career success.
As a student, you process copious amounts of knowledge that is produced from your studies. On top of the coursework, it’s also important to develop and maintain healthy relationships with other students and your lecturers. Most of that ‘relationship work’ will involve writing to those people. In many instances, the life of a student is centered on writing and organizing notes, irrespective of the type of qualification they are studying for.
A regular writing habit (especially outside of academic work) helps with finding meaning in daily experiences. It also helps to observe those experiences from a renewed perspective. As a result, you will tend to see the silver lining even during your most negative and stressful moments.
Writing out your thoughts and feelings helps you have a strong handle on the following mental health challenges:
- Grief and loss
When a loved one passes away, we can find solace, reflection and acceptance by writing about their life and the lessons they taught you.
Many people can attest to having a childhood filled with anxiety. Keeping a journal and publishing blogs about life and your learning can help you become better at communicating your thoughts. Consequently, you can also become more confident and sociable.
2020 was a mentally challenging year for the world and it’s fair to say many were in a dark mental space. Having a creative outlet like writing proved to be therapeutic and a good distraction given all the was happening in the world because of the Carona Virus.
- Communication skills
Taking the plunge to publish your thoughts and knowledge can allow you to gather feedback and improve. The feedback loop can boost your confidence. It also invites people with the same perspective to reach out.
The benefits of writing your thoughts and feelings:
- Build a second brain that spans years
Imagine if you were to read through ten years’ worth of notes that you wrote, on different topics, moods and attitudes.
That collection of notes is a powerful repository of knowledge that shows different mindsets of the same person. It is the act of creating a second brain.
When you are armed with a collection of notes that span back years, you can look at your mind outside of yourself, so to speak. This gives you the ability to identify behavioural patterns that lead to how you interact with the world.
- Write for mental and emotional clarity
Every time you decide to face a blank page or screen to express yourself or make a To-Do list, you choose to sharpen your mind.
Writing helps with the thinking process. Over time, it makes it easier to remember details from lectures, meetings, articles, videos and other media.
As you develop a strong writing habit, you’ll begin to pay more attention to your behaviour and the world around you.
- Improve your creativity
When you organize information using notes, you invariably elevate your creativity in the process. The notes carry different pieces of information and that presents an opportunity to combine the ideas written in your notebook to create fresh ideas.
A systematic way to store notes encourages open-mindedness. And it puts you in a position to make connections between contrasting ideas.
A writing habit is also an opportunity to develop a consistent idea generation system.
- Learn to store (and perhaps, publish) the ideas that you learn
The reality is that in every interaction you have there is something interesting to learn. From throwaway conversations, television series episodes, movies, YouTube video right through to music.
When you have a system to save and sort that information, learning becomes easier and happens anywhere. When you are an avid note taker, you listen to people with a strong intent to understand them and learn something new.
Collecting notes is a great way to inspire curiosity.
- Maintain relationships in your life like a champ with clear communication
Another interesting reality is that when you improve your writing skills, your relationships benefit. Writing necessitates that the writer resolves any emotional chaos they may have happened inside of them in order to create words that connect with other people.
Along with a daily writing habit grows the ability to communicate thoughts in a clear manner. When you can write clearly the quality of your conversations also improves.