The Healing Effects of Creative Writing by Sandra Andrews

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[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have Sandra Andrews guest post on the site today. She’s talking all things creative writing. Take it away, Sandra!]

Creative writing is a universal skill. The enduring stories we read in books are there because people have honed their ability to express themselves through words. While many of our lives have improved because of the outcomes of others’ creative writing, the skill also has healing effects for those who take the time to do it themselves. Creative writing is valuable to the writer in several ways, and many of them benefit their mental well-being. Below, we’ll look at the various mental healing effects of creative writing for children and adults alike.

Creative Writing Stimulates Self-Expression

There are not many ways to freely express your ideas and emotions. Additionally, not everyone is comfortable verbally sharing their feelings with others.Writing provides an avenue to put the mixed emotions circling around in our minds into words. When discussing her bookstagram project, Emily Waller talked about how this serves as a creative outlet that promotes her mental health. Creative writing, just like starting a bookstagram account, can be a great source of relaxation especially amid times of turmoil. We all need to find outlets to express how we feel in order to help us find balance in our mental state, which creative writing provides.

Creative Writing Helps Us Process Our Emotions

Unstructured expressive writing has been found to improve the psychological health of people coping with symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and anger. This is because creative writing provides us with a medium for processing accumulated stress and challenging moments in our life. Often people go about their lives without taking the time to be mindful of how their feelings are a reflection of the stressful circumstances that surround them. Writing then becomes a mirror we put up to ourselves, helping us work through our current struggles and process them the best way we can. Through processing our feelings, this self-awareness leads to self-compassion. Ultimately, writing allows us to become more mindful to accepting ourselves despite our flaws and failures. As a result, we’re able to turn stressful circumstances into opportunities for growth.

Creative Writing Helps Us Learn

There’s a lobby among school English teachers to include more time for creative writing
in education. Aside from its ability to help the emotional wellbeing of students, they argue that it’s also a great way to help them learn. Creative writing helps equip students to deal with the real world, more than memorizing dates and names. Valerie Strauss speaking to the Washington Post believes that the soft skills cultivated by creative writing has “tremendous real-world application as well as helping to promote the kind of atmosphere we want in our classrooms.” While many educators think of creative writing as a waste of time, it’s actually proven to help children’s learning outcomes. Research on the affect writing has on learning has been growing extensively as more child psychologists are taking note of the link. In Maryville University’s exploration of psychology and education they note how more psychologists recognize the value of understanding the relationship between mental health and learning. According to the university, this has led to an increasing demand for professionals who appreciate this connection. If more educators see how creative writing cultivates a students’ learning ability, we may have more emotionally healthy students who can perform better at school.

Creative Writing Helps Us Become More Self-Empowered

Writing helps broaden people’s imaginations, visualizing a world beyond what’s physically present. When we’re creating an entirely different universe with our words, everything is under our control. This sense of control and creation helps us to realize the possibilities of our actions in the real world. We realize that we have the power to control our futures, much like how we can change the future of the characters in our stories. In dreaming of a world beyond the present, creative writing fosters self-empowerment. In the end, creative writing shows us that the stories we write can turn into our very own realities.

About the Author:

Sandra Andrews is an edtech blogger with an interest in creative writing. Sandra loves reading children’s storybooks. She is also a parent to two golden retrievers named Sadie and Alexa. When she’s not writing or reading, you can find her at the dog park taking her furry family for a walk.

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