Short answer: Hell yeah!
I write about writing a lot at my blog, and in doing so, wrote an article about how writing–in a specific way–can not only make you a better writer, but a healthier person. I thought I’d share a slightly altered version of a post from my blog with Threads Nation. What’s the big writing trick for better mental health?
Write by hand.
That’s it. Seriously. Well, there’s a little bit more, but you have questions. I can tell. Let’s have it, then…
What Makes Writing by Hand So Special?
An article from Mental Floss lists 4 reasons:
- It’s better for learning. One of the most effective ways to study and retain new information is to rewrite your notes by hand.
- It makes you a better writer.
- It will prevents distraction.
- It keeps your brain sharp as you get older.
But this is just a starter list. The truth is, writing by hand engages the brain in a way that typing on a computer simply can’t. But you’re probably thinking:
What Are the Affects of Writing by Hand on the Brain?
An article in Psychology Today tells us, “The brain’s “reading circuit” of linked regions that are activated during reading was activated during handwriting, but not during typing.” In other words, reading activates the same part of your brain as writing by hand–but typing does not.
Also, when you type, your computer likely underlines things in blue and red, letting you know you should change them. Then you start thinking too much about mechanics, and your style fades.
This came from an article in Forbes: “According to a study performed at the Indiana University, the mere action of writing by hand unleashes creativity not easily accessed in any other way. And high-tech magnetic resonance imaging has indeed shown that low-tech writing by hand increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain, much like meditation.” It went on to say, “Mindful writing rests the brain, potentially sparking creativity….”
But writing by hand is even more magical than I realized. (And I thought it was pretty damn awesome already.)
Not everyone wants to write for the masses, so you maybe don’t care about being a better writer. Here’s the part everybody can appreciate:
Writing by Hand Is Good for Your Mental Health
I was upset the other day. Like, having an imaginary argument out loud, letting out all the mean shit I was thinking. Then I decided to write about it, journal style. What I found was that by the third sentence, my thinking had become clear, the ridiculousness of how angry I was had become clear, and before I even finished the first paragraph, I wasn’t mad anymore. (But I had a good idea for a blog post…)
Furthermore, an article from the University of Rochester Medical School website says that journaling can help “manage anxiety, reduce stress, [and] cope with depression” by “helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns; tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them; [and] providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors.”
An article from Cambridge University says that writing, over time, may even improve immune function.
So what are you waiting for? Get writing! Not sure how? See if these help:
That’s it. That’s all I got.
As always, keep your mental health in check. Try practicing mindfulness, for a start. Read other Threads blogs, like the one about technology & church in the age of Zoom. If you need to talk to someone about your mental health but you don’t know how to take the first step, try Threads‘ sponsor, BetterHelp.com. If you use the link, you’ll get 10% off your first month of teletherapy.
Catch ya next time. Take care!
Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five!