There are about twenty-thousand reasons why writing benefits mental health. Writing is emotional, raw, and honest. It allows us to get in tune with ourselves, to work through our feelings, and to see ourselves reflected on the page. For these reasons and countless more, writing is a form of self-care. However, I’ll save you the time of reading twenty-thousand reasons why writing is awesome and narrow it down to three.
Three reasons why writing–and a creative lifestyle–will improve your mental health.
Three reasons why you should start to build a creative writing lifestyle NOW.
So first of all, what is a creative lifestyle? Great question! A creative lifestyle is one filled with exploration, discovery, and intentionality. It’s a lifestyle that nurtures your inner writer and allows you to see all the possibility in the world around you. For more on how to build a creative lifestyle, check out last week’s post, here.
How will a creative lifestyle improve your mental health?
A creative lifestyle is all about reflection, intentionality, and self-care. It’s a lifestyle that prioritizes you, your passions, and the things that matter most in your life. In other words, it’s a lifestyle all about the intimate connection between writing, creativity, and mental health.
So, with that, onto the good stuff:
Writing promotes mindfulness. The act of writing is inherently grounding because it forces us to capture specific, detailed moments. It requires us to look around, to notice the world, and to build stories out of a thousand small pieces.
“Ideally, [when I write,] I want to be in both worlds: the one I’ve created in my mind, and also the one that’s all around me. Because if I’m present, I will miss nothing. As writers, it is our job not only to imagine, but to witness. How are we meant to witness if we’re not in the room?”Dani Shapiro, Still Writing
A creative lifestyle helps us work through big emotions. Do you ever write a scene and then look back at it to realize that you relate to your characters’ emotions? Or, have you ever been dealing with something in your life, sat down to write, and felt monumentally better after? That’s because writing helps us process what’s going on in our lives. It allows us to distance ourselves from those emotions by writing them down and looking at them from the outside.
A creative lifestyle does this same work, because it embraces the healing power of writing. By building a creative lifestyle, you will learn how to stay in tune with your emotions via creativity. You will learn how to treat writing not only as a passion and an escape, but as a tool for self-care.
Writing increases empathy. Writing is a guide to understanding. It forces us to consider the emotions of others, because in order to write believable characters, we must understand them on an emotional level and give them believable reasons for their actions. We must work to understand why people do what they do.
If, like me, you tend to over-empathize, a creative lifestyle can also help. More specifically, the continuous practice of writing makes the page into a safe place. A place we can go to think through what happens in our lives and try to understand. This creates a built in boundary. The page is where we think and our life is where we live.
“The illuminating of that conflict [of the human heart]… is itself a thing of beauty because it allows the reader to experience empathy, oneness, identification. It allows the greatest consolation of literature, which is to pierce our separateness, to show us that, in this business of being human, we are not alone.”Dani Shapiro, Still Writing
With Love, Cats, and Coffee 💖,
The Present Active Writer