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Can Writing Combat Anxiety?

We’ve been talking about writer’s block and the ways we can overcome it. Let’s talk about some ways that writing can help us deal with other difficult aspects of our life.
I stumbled across a paper from a university psychology department that discussed different writing techniques for aiding in the treatment of anxiety. This particular study from Eastern Michigan University was interested in discovering whether paper-based writing (journals, letters) was more therapeutic than web-based writing (emails, blogging). Their hypothesis was that paper-based writing would be more useful when processing through emotions and anxieties. However, they discovered that it didn’t necessarily make a difference. The key was accessibility to writing.
Some people blog publicly about their struggles and find a connection within a community that helps them. Some write privately and work through their issues internally.
I came across a blog the other day wherein a woman blogged about the loss of her child. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to read, but she clearly found some healing in blogging about her very personal tragedy. People journal all the time both publicly and privately. The great thing about writing to tackle your anxiety is that there ARE so many ways and places to do it.
Anxiety is a real thing and whether writers and creatives in general are more susceptible to anxiety is maybe still up for debate. But we know real live artists who struggle. Personally, I have done both public and private writings to help me work through angsty topics. Sometimes I feel like reaching out. Other times, I just need to get the words out of me and onto paper but they are maybe too tender and raw to share with anyone.
Don’t let the question of public or private stop you from trying this very useful tool in combatting anxiety.
Sit down with a computer, an iPad, a notebook, or index card and start writing whatever it is that comes to mind. Stream of consciousness can be very effective in identifying the sources of your frustration.
Keep in mind that writing through your thoughts is only one of many ways to manage anxiety. Other ways include exercise, eating healthy, and seeking professional help from a qualified therapist. Don’t hesitate to seek help in addition to writing!
Happy Writing!
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