Writing for therapy is a topic very close to my heart at the moment. I have had a very stressful and difficult few months for various reasons and last week was particularly challenging to say the least. I was therefore very keen to be part of a workshop entitled ‘Mindful Creative Writing’ that was taking place in Harrogate last week.
As you know I love writing and it is a big part of my life. I not only use writing for my work and get paid for it, but I also love writing for pleasure. I carry a notebook with me at all times and I have various notebooks by my bed in case I get inspiration through the night for a new story or poem.
Anyway I digress. The Mindful Creative Writing Workshop was organized by the lovely staff at Toast on Montpellier Hill. The workshop was run by Elaine Kingett who is an established writer and who runs a variety of workshops, both in the UK and in Spain.
Following a short introductory meditation, myself and five other ladies started writing in our journals, quietly directed by the lovely Elaine. Elaine gave us exercises which were designed to stimulate deeper thoughts, which we then transferred onto paper. We looked at simple everyday items such as a piece of clothing we were wearing and wrote down various details about it. This style of writing is one that I really enjoy as it is written from the heart. Without overthinking, we can write down what is deep in our mind and this translates as our inner most thoughts. I found myself writing about my handbag in a way I had never written before. I hadn’t realized I had so much emotion attached to a simple red handbag from Cath Kidston !
After returning home from the workshop I continued to think about how writing can be so therapeutic for us. Recently I have been writing a lot of prose and poetry. I write whenever I have a minute and even write in the bath, which is odd I know. Lately, I have written so many poems that I almost have enough for a series of poetry chapbooks (which are small pamphlets of a selection of poems.) I may even publish these in the near future, so watch this space.
Looking back at these poems I realise I have been using my writing as a form of therapy over recent months. I can see that the poems reflect certain aspects of my life, from anxiety to feeling pure joy. Surely this can be beneficial for us all? By putting pen to paper and getting our thoughts out in the open, we are helping our mind unravel any difficulties we may have. Much of mental health issues are complicated by the fact that most people find it hard to talk about how they are feeling. Or, they may have no one they can turn to during difficult times. Writing, therefore, can be very cathartic and can be used as a positive way to help many kinds of mental health issues.
After the workshop I began to think how wonderful it would be if doctors prescribed writing workshops similar to the one I had attended. Instead of dishing out the obligatory happy pills, surely creative writing could be a better way to help those of us afflicted with debilitating mental health issues. Writing is not just about recording our difficulties in life, but we can also celebrate our good fortune and our happiness. Then, in future when our life is not going so well, it can be good to look back and realise just how resilient and strong we really are. Looking back at our written words is like looking back at old photos. It triggers a memory in us that can have an immediate impact on our current situation.
Writing is such a powerful tool and I believe we would all benefit from engaging in some form of writing. It is easy to start writing. You just need a notebook, pen and a quiet place to write. I find it useful to spend a few minutes relaxing and trying to clear my busy mind before I start to write. Then I just write. It really is that simple. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or handwriting. Just write about how you are feeling on that day or your worries and concerns.
The idea is to get those muddled and stressed thoughts down on paper and out of your head. Only then can you start to feel clearer and make sense of how you are feeling. Why not try it today ? Perhaps you might like to keep a regular journal of your daily thoughts? Why not try poetry? I find poetry very relaxing. Don’t worry about sticking to formal poetry styles. Just write free style poetry and let your pen do the talking.
I hope some of you reading this will have a go at writing for therapy. Maybe, like me, you will find that writing really helps clear your mind and even relieves your stress and anxiety.
Have you tried writing in this way? Have you found it helps you, especially at times of difficulty in your life? Do you keep a journal or a detailed diary? Do you find that helpful?
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Until next time dear friends
The writing workshop I attended was held at Toast at 23-24 Montpellier Hill, Harrogate. HG1 2TG. https://www.toa.st/uk/
For more details of the work of Elaine Kingett please visit her website at http://www.elainekingett.co.uk/?page=home