According to Maya Angelou, people bear many stories inside, and they feel agony if can't share those stories to the world. The fastest and safest cure from this agony is writing or, to be particular, self-analysis through different writing practices. It reminds meditation and doesn't require any plagiarism checker software, as this technique is not about copying or paraphrasing others but dealing with internal problems.
In other words, we don't write to polish grammar and style. We choose writing practices to understand and heal souls.
The problem is, far from all practices have a therapeutic effect or work for all people. Thus, free writing or finishing separate sentences help to solve problems rather than introspect, while writing a diary or unsent letters can be a central element of psychotherapy. It allows to deal with painful emotions, understand what goes wrong in our lives, and analyze what we need to release, resolve, or let go.
With so many writing practices available, it's essential to choose the right one and learn how to use it for good. Books such as Journal to the Self or The Healing Power of Writing can help: written by psychotherapists, they explain physical and emotional effects of writing, describe how to integrate it into everyday life or treatment plans, and provide step-by-step methods of using writing techniques for personal growth, career enhancement, healing, and creative expression.
Another point to consider for self-analysis through writing is critical reading. Obviously, we won't learn anything from our essays, reviews, blog posts, and diary notes if can't analyze them analytically. As Gregory Fraser writes in his book, A Guide to Critical Reading and Writing, "all of us engage in the acts of reading and interpreting the signs in the world around us. But what do we do to sharpen our analytical skills to interpret all meanings right?"
Long story short:
Do we read to absorb hundreds of books? Or, do we read to learn from them and put that knowledge through our worldview for self-analysis, emotional intelligence, self-education, or, at least, better writing?
A Guide to Critical Reading teaches us to analyzing anything. Fraser explains how to interpret signs, culture studies, and literature analytically to use those interpretations in academic writings afterward; but what makes the book useful for those in self-analysis is the lessons to a critical perception of what we write in own diaries and journals.
As well as writing, reading has a therapeutic effect, too: it reduces anxiety, improves memory, slows the process of Alzheimer's and Dementia, and increases our empathy level. Books motivate, broaden imagination, inspire, and cultivate a theory of mind allowing us to "read" thoughts and feelings of other people. Isn't it the shortest and truthful way to self-growth and self-development?