With the dawn of the information age, short-form and visual communication has become more of the norm. For example, people regularly post life updates on Instagram and TikTok or chat with others over Zoom and FaceTime. Whenever there is written communication, it seems to be much more brief in nature, like what we see in a text message or tweet.
While these quick forms of communication serve their purpose, it would be foolish to say that there haven’t been any compromises or issues with this shift in communication approach. Younger people spend less time writing and which means less exposure to its benefits. We, at Educate. Radiate. Elevate., care deeply about instilling in the next generation the benefits and skills associated with long-form writing Here we discuss the value of writing and ways to incorporate different forms of writing into daily life.
Writing Improves Mental Health
Writing can be an incredibly therapeutic experience. It allows people to explore their minds, emotions, and feelings in solace. This explorative process of writing has been shown to lower symptoms of depression, according to research by the University of Texas at Austin. In this study, students with histories of depression were instructed to write about their thoughts and emotions for twenty minutes a day over three days. The students who did this reported back positively about the experience, saying that the act of exploring their mental state through writing was a great experience. One participant is quoted as saying: “Being forced to sit down and write out my feelings literally changed me.” These results promote the argument that writing gives people an emotional outlet where they can self-reflect in a unique and valuable way. So, give writing a shot if you’re feeling down and out and you might feel better afterward!
Writing Improves Memory
While technology certainly helps track some things we need to remember, keeping our memory sharp is still something to be concerned about. Luckily, writing can help here, as well. An article from North Carolina State University has shown that writing can benefit one’s memory. Writing about deep thoughts, like feelings regarding moving away for college or emotions resulting from the death of a pet, similar to previously mentioned research, resulted in improved working memory in college students. This is because these big and important feelings can take up a lot of cognitive resources. By writing about them, a person is essentially able to relieve their mind, allowing themselves to think about other things more easily. So if you’re looking to free your mind and expand your memory, writing could be an antidote to your problem.
Writing Can Boost Physical Health
While writing can help your mind, believe it or not, writing can also help make you physically healthier! It might sound crazy, but research from Southern Methodist University has shown that writing can not only make one happier, but it has also resulted in people becoming sick less often. After being asked to write about their life goals, subjects demonstrated improvements in mood and health. This is because writing about life goals and the positive feelings surrounding them makes one more likely to pursue those goals and achieve those good emotions associated with the goal. A perplexing outcome, but a beneficial one nonetheless. Regardless, if you’re feeling well, writing can still help keep you feeling better longer.
Of course, there are many more values of writing, but with these few benefits mentioned, it begs the question: “What are some ways I can fit writing into my day-to-day life?” Here are three ways you can write each day without an enormous amount of effort.
1. Keep a Dream Journal
As Sigmund Freud famously said, “Dreams are a pathway to the unconscious.” In other words, if you want to learn more about your inner psyche, then evaluate your dreams. While some dreams might seem like nothing but nonsense, keeping track of your dreams in a dream journal can be interesting as you may notice patterns. It can also challenge you to recall all the details of what you experienced while you slept, which is a great memory-building practice. And, a lot of the time (unless we are having nightmares), dreams can be entertaining to think about. We can try and decipher what recent events may have lead to our dreams. Or we can share them with others and see what they think about them. Plus, when you inevitably get the itch to go back through your dream journal, it will bring back a flood of memories and emotions associated with those dreams.
2. Practice Creative Writing
Writing something more extensive like a research paper or a novel, while an interesting endeavor, is just not something many have the time or interest to do. Luckily, all writing doesn’t have to be grand in order to be valuable. Many forms of creative writing, such as short fictional stories or poetry, can be created in a brief amount of time. So maybe if you’re on your lunch break, you can take some time to channel your emotions into a poem or start writing a short story based on an idea you conjured while daydreaming. Use your imagination and be creative!
3. Start a Diary
Diaries might seem like something that teenagers use to write down gossip and secrets, but as the aforementioned research has shown, a diary can be much more than that. Diaries allow one to privately explore their inner-self. Have any complicated feelings or intrusive thoughts that you want to hash out? Try writing about them in a diary entry. Creating a dialogue between you and the page can help you sort out your ideas and bring you a sense of peace. And it is, at the very least, a way to keep a record of your life that you can look back on in the future and reminisce upon.
While writing is an important asset to our lives, its use and practice in everyday life have diminished. This is a shame as there is a lot of value to writing. On top of many other benefits, writing can improve your health and memory. If you are interested in writing, consider keeping a dream journal, authoring small pieces of creative writing, or starting a diary.
And if you care about instilling the value of writing and other academic disciplines in the youth, consider donating to Educate. Radiate. Elevate. Our goal is to level the educational playing field so that students of all backgrounds have a fair shot at life through our tutoring program. Our tutors are highly qualified and aim to improve students’ performances both inside and outside of the schooling environment. With your donation, we can close equity gaps with quality education support.