Did you know that writing has powerful health benefits? While most people don’t associate an activity like writing with health, picking it up as a hobby or habit in your later years has been proven to improve brain function and keep the mind sharp.
And the best part of writing? Anyone can do it! Creative writing is an easy and fun way to take care of your mental and physical health. It allows individuals to settle back and deeply reflect on their own life experiences or dream up new ones. Writing offers limitless avenues to explore, from prose to poetry. Whether you would like to write your memories into a memoir or write fictional characters that go on adventures, you receive the same health benefits.
Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of writing.
Stimulate Cognitive Function & Improve Memory Retention
If you used this as a study trick in your school days, then you know that writing something down over and over again helps you to remember it. The process of recalling something, writing it down, and reading it back on paper boosts memory and comprehension. As a result, this leads to improved cognitive processing.
However, studies have found that the creative process of crafting a story stimulates certain parts of the brain that simply copying words down on paper will not. The process of creating characters, plot, scene, dialogue, setting, and more invigorate the brain. Essentially, creating an entirely new narrative requires much more thought and creativity than rote writing. Creative writing engages the brain on a new level and forms new neural pathways and connections, keeping the brain sharp and agile.
Stress can cause and worsen a whole host of health problems. Not to mention, stress is just plain unpleasant. Finding an outlet to redirect and alleviate this stress is essential for everyone’s mental and physical wellbeing. When you are feeling overwhelmed, the last thing you want to do— or think to do— is write a short story or poem.
However, any type of writing that requires imagination helps de-stress your body and mind. Writing provides a constructive escape, providing the distraction your mind needs to decrease anxiety, stop racing thoughts, and improve your mood. As a result, when you’re ready to leave your fictional world for the real world, you’ll likely feel better and even have a fresh perspective.
Improve Sleep & Create Peace of Mind
It can be hard to get your brain to shut off and relax. Consequently, when it comes time for bed, many people lie awake with racing thoughts. Writing is a great tactic for improving your sleep cycle because it helps get those thoughts out on paper, so they are not living so much in your head.
Specifically for seniors, creative writing and writing in a journal can help promote mindfulness and help older adults live in the present moment, rather than worrying what the future holds. This habit can support coming to terms with the ageing process, help cherish their memories, and celebrate the experiences of their life. Expressive writing is a powerful tool that offers a safe space for individuals to process and explore their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and impactful life experiences.
You don’t have to be an aspiring author to reap the benefits of writing, simply a willingness to pick up your pen! The Life Enrichment Center offers a variety of engaging writing classes for writers of all levels, such as: Creative Writing, Six-Week Memoir Writing, Monologues for Beginners, and the Ten-Minute Play for Beginners.