Why It’s Right to Write
Brain teaser games, word puzzles, memory quizzes—these tasks have been shown to help improve mental activity and stimulate brain memory.
But what about writing? Whether it’s a personal diary or blog, a long-form letter to a friend, or a research report for work, continued writing is found to have a variety of psychological and emotional benefits for adults. So even if your job isn’t centered on writing—you may consider making the task a habit to improve long-term mental function.
Start writing—no matter the format—to take advantage of these benefits:
- Improve critical thinking. According to one academic report on writing, “Writing … allows the writer to concretize abstract ideas and to ‘connect the dots in their knowledge.’” Putting pen to paper allows people to better sort through their ideas on the subject, develop a personal narrative, and consider outside opinions or research. Writing can help information be “analyzed, critiqued, reproduced, and transformed,” according to the report.
- Improve memory. Remember studying using flash cards in college and high school? Or did you have a teacher who provided “busy work” by asking you to copy text word-for-word? Studies do show that writing something down can improve memory (thank you, written to-do list!). One study found, “when adults write about significant life events their memory for such events is improved.”
- Increase emotional well-being. For people who were going through a difficult life period or traumatic experience, one researcher found that writing about the experience helped with improving their mood and becoming more positive. Other benefits from writing through emotions include: “improvement in immune system functioning, fewer doctor visits, and greater academic performance.” Like a songwriter going through a breakup or a person processing a loss or divorce, writing can help to express feelings and deepest desires—and work through any negative issues.
- Keep a robust vocabulary. ICYMI, short, abbreviated text communications have taken place of long-form letters and expanded writing—to the detriment of your vocabulary. Do you often find yourself grasping for the right word? Writing can help maintain your current vocabulary, helping to keep those rarely used words still top of mind. Yes, vocabulary still applies to the old adage of “use it or lose it”! To help expand my vocabulary, I subscribe to the Dictionary.com “Word of the Day” email: A new word is emailed to me each morning, including definition and audio pronunciation. While I may not retain every word I read, the practice is expanding my knowledge of the English language and just how many words are even available. Sign up here.
Whether you plan to journal in the evening or take time to author more blogs or reports for work, writing regularly has tremendous benefits to your emotional and mental well-being.
Camille Rome is a Managing Supervisor at Bond Moroch.