Writing therapy is now a recognised form of therapy to help a variety of mental health issues. These mental health issues can be stand alone problems or they can be linked to a physical illness. It is widely believed that writing down one’s feelings actually reduces extreme stress, anxiety and trauma. Writing down our feelings can help us keep track of how our negative thoughts may be developing. It is almost as if we are talking to another person, another ‘one of us’. It is only then that we can really take note of the words on the paper and work out a way forward from our current situation.
I personally believe that when I pick up a pen or type something on my laptop and create a few words, that I am actually tapping into my sub conscious thoughts. This mind body connection is almost spiritual and provides me with another avenue to develop my thoughts and emotions. I also think that writing has a direct link to meditation and helps us create a more peaceful state of mind. I recently published a book of poems based on my own mental health journey. If you missed my post about this please click here.
Looking back at my 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 depression to anxiety. But also to feeling hopeful about the future. I started writing my poems on my phone to start with and then graduated to a notebook I carried round in my bag. Surely this simple method can be adopted by 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. Many 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 psychological problems.
I began to think how wonderful it would be if doctors prescribed writing workshops for those struggling with poor mental health. 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. Or simply write about what kind of day you had. Once you get into the flow of writing you can then start to develop a more structured writing pattern. Perhaps think of a theme you would like to write about. How about writing about your childhood memories or perhaps start to create simple poems that really resonate with your deepest thoughts. If writing poetry, don’t worry about writing in a strict, formal style such as a sonnet. Use free style poetry where any form is acceptable. Write and see where your thoughts take you.
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. I find that writing gives me a sense of control about my life, overcoming any helplessness I may have been feeling. You don’t have to show anyone your writing. It can be for your eyes only. It is a fabulous way to record your daily feelings and thoughts and to look back in a few months to see how your life has moved on.
I hope some of you reading this will have a go at writing. All you need is a notebook and a pen and a quiet place to sit and write. I often light a candle and meditate before I start writing as I find this relaxes me and puts me in a state of calmness. You can, of course, write directly onto your laptop and this is just as effective. Personally, I prefer to use a notebook as I can carry this round with me and write whenever something pops into my head.
This year (2019) I am running writing workshops along with a local author Francesca Hepton of https://worldofwellnessandwriting.com/ One of these workshops will be Writing For Therapy, so if you are interested in knowing more about this topic then please keep popping back to check for more details.
Please let me know how you get on with your writing. Did you find it easy to do or was it quite strange putting pen to paper? Do you feel it helped you in any way? Did you feel less stressed, less anxious even? Were your thoughts clearer and more organised? Let me know in the comments below or private message if you would prefer.
Until next time dear friends