The Healing Power of Writing
How Writing Can Improve Your Mental Health
By Chana Brissett Shinegba
Some may say we live in a cutthroat, isolating rat race, a society where the struggle of mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and trauma are common. Although there are a variety of treatments, there are some methods of healing that may be overlooked, like the simple art of writing. Join me as we explore the benefits of writing for mental health and provide tips and techniques on how to get started.
The Science of Writing for Mental Health
Scientific studies have shown that writing can have a powerful impact on mental health and emotional well-being. In one study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, participants who wrote about traumatic events had better working memory performance compared to those who wrote about neutral topics. This is just one example of how writing can benefit cognitive function.
Techniques for Using Writing to Improve Mental Health
As a writer, I’ve used (and continue to use) the following practical tips and techniques as a tool to manage my mental health:
Daily journaling - Set aside a few minutes each day to write about your thoughts and feelings. This can be a powerful way to process emotions and reduce stress.
Writing prompts - Use prompts to help introduce you to the writing process. There are many resources available that provide writing prompts for mental health, such as "write about a time when you overcame a challenge."
Guided writing exercises - There are many guided writing exercises that can help you work through specific mental health challenges. For example, if you're struggling with anxiety, you might try a guided exercise that helps you focus on the present moment.
Expressive writing - This technique involves writing about your deepest emotions and thoughts. It can be challenging, but studies have shown that it can be highly effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Gratitude journaling - This involves writing down things that you are grateful for each day. This can help shift your focus to positive experiences and improve your overall mood.
Writing can be a powerful tool for improving mental health and well-being. Whether you're struggling with anxiety, or depression, or simply looking for a way to manage stress, journaling and other forms of writing can help. By using some of these tips and techniques, you can start harnessing the healing power of writing for your own mental health. Remember, the most important thing is to prioritize your mental health and make time for self-care.
Chana Shinegba, also known as Chana Brissett, has been passionate about writing from a young age. She discovered her love for literary arts when she wrote her first haiku at the tender age of five. Her childhood diary was filled with dramatic accounts of daily activities that later transformed into several journals of poetic tales, depicting life's triumphs and challenges with a dance of fantasy and vibrant imagination. Writing continues to be a therapeutic outlet for her, and her passion for it is consistently growing.
In Fall 2023, Chana's passion for writing will reach new heights as her first published novel will be released. The book promises to be a page-turner that will showcase her talent for writing.
Having spent most of her life in the Nation's Capital, Chana deeply appreciates the diverse cultural influences that thrive in the local neighborhoods. She has a particular affinity for the live music and cuisine, which feeds her love for good food and good people. Chana has dedicated over 20 years to the hospitality industry and is currently the Director of Client Relations for one of the top premier catering companies in the Washington, DC area. Her strong networking and business development background has allowed her to excel in building and cultivating relationships with clients, committing to providing exceptional experiences and exceeding expectations.
In addition to her work in the hospitality industry, Chana is also an advocate for giving back. She is proud to be the Catering Subject Matter Expert (SME) for EnventU, a hospitality program designed to build a pipeline to event industry careers for high school students. Chana played a vital role in leading the development of the catering career track curriculum, which educates students on the fundamentals of catering. Chana's dedication to mentoring young students will help build a more diverse and inclusive industry in the future.
Chana shares her home with her husband, a fellow writer, her daughter, who is in her first year at The Catholic University of America, pursuing a law track but has a love for events and writing; and a cat that loves to people-watch at the window.
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