Using Writing As A Means Of Therapy
For many people, expressing feelings verbally can be difficult; opening up to someone on a particular topic can cause feelings of vulnerability. In this instance, writing serves as a way to be able to express certain feelings through a creative outlet. Writing unlocks your subconscious to bring to light your most pressing thoughts, from current issues at hand or those from the past that you have been avoiding.
The therapeutic effects of writing have been so effective that it is frequently encouraged in the hospital setting for those who are physically or mentally ill. Counselors who have patients who have experienced traumatic events often encourage those patients to use writing as a form of therapy. Suppressing your thoughts is stressful to the body as well as the mind. When you sit down and write, you are taking time to take care of yourself. Instead of holding in your feelings, write those feelings down because it is cathartic– like crying, writing is a form of release.
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Looking at a piece of paper and thinking about all of the possibilities of what you can write is liberating, especially for someone who has dealt with loss or hardships. It gives the individual a sense of independence and power over his/her situation. When life seems out of control, you are in control with a pen in hand.
Writing forces you to focus inward to provide that release – with so many external distractions, people forget to take the time to take care of their own emotional needs. At the same time, it is an external process as well. You are creating a work of art when you write and the artistry of it becomes your focus; you get caught up in the story telling. You can think in the abstract and creatively approach a situation.
You do not have to concern yourself with the technicalities of writing (if you don’t want to)– you are sharing yourself in any way you want to when you write; just write how you feel in whichever way it comes out.
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Write for yourself and it can remain for your eyes only. You can also opt to write in a group or share your work with a therapist. In doing so, you are giving him/her insight into how to work with and aid you through your situation. If there is something that you want to tell someone living or deceased and are unable to do so, write it down as if he/she could see it. Let go.
Writing is a positive way to handle and cope with a situation. Although confronting your darkest memories may be upsetting at first, you may feel happier and healthier if you are able to write about deeply traumatic memories, such as loss. Writing often improves an individual’s mood, leaving you feeling uplifted and adding value to your life. By looking at your story in the form of words on paper, you can take a different perspective on your situation.
Writing is personal; it’s easy. You can do it anytime and anywhere. The act of writing itself will not only improve your mood and health, but it will also help you clarify your thoughts, improve your memory and help you prepare for both the best and worst. Some studies even suggest that writing helps individuals learn more effectively than typing.
Mental and emotional pain is strong, and even traumatic at times, often leading to depression and anxiety. If you have troubles floating around in your head, let them out by writing. You may be pleasantly surprised how different you may feel afterwards.
*Virginia Cunningham is a freelance health and wellness writer in the Los Angeles area. She specializes in alternative medicine and supplements as well as sustainability, skin care, and special needs advocacy. In addition to meditating, she writes down her negative thoughts in order to maintain a relaxed and positive outlook.