Did you know that writing down your thoughts and feelings can make you happier and healthier, it is at the core of everything.
When it comes to taking care of your mental and physical health, putting pen to paper can turn out to be life-saving.
Many people fear to speak with a friend, a member of the family or a specialised therapist when it comes to their emotional struggles. In those times, paper is their escape, their non-judgemental confidant.
Besides, research shows that writing down your emotions can improve your physical health too. Many illnesses are caused by stress accumulations and tension in our bodies. By releasing these through the act of writing, we can prevent a doctor’s visit and live longer.
Expressing your thoughts and feelings in writing can increase your levels of happiness by allowing you to be more self-aware. It can also boost your confidence and support you in overcoming low self-esteem by reducing the loud volume of negative inner talk.
Writing is not just for writers. However, when first starting out, a blank sheet of paper can seem scary when you know it can easily become the mirror of your feelings. So my recommendation is to put pen to paper as a daily practice in order to build up the writing muscle. Start small to get used to writing – which you might already be doing as a regular part of your day without paying too much attention – and then get deeper and deeper.
Here are 5 of the easiest techniques to start benefiting from therapeutic writing:
1. Writing Lists
There are two types of people in the world: those who like lists and those who don’t. If you’re in the latter category, I’m on a mission to make you believe in the power of lists. Start with something small, like a groceries shopping list. See how good it feels to cross things off your list.
Feel the gratitude of having accomplished the tasks on your to-do list. Besides, you will be saved from the rage of your spouse or your flatmate whom you promised not to forget buying toothpaste again.
Writing lists is the first step to get you familiar with keeping a pen and paper at hand.
2. Pros and cons
When we face difficult decisions in our lives, we might feel lost and overwhelmed. We might ask for others’ opinion. We might just back down instead of choosing a new direction.
But the healthiest way would be to write on a piece of paper the pros and cons of each option. Plus and minus. Happy face and sad face. What’s positive and what’s not. It will be like putting on a scale and seeing how the balance goes to the left or right. It will save you from so much anxiety and sleepless nights! Just looking at both sides will give you an objective perspective to consider your decision.
All those times you keep forgetting your keys at home… What if instead, you have a post-it note on your door or somewhere close to the exit to kindly remind you to take your keys with you? I’m telling you – life-saver!
Now let’s go even deeper. How about keeping a post-it on your bathroom mirror to remind you “I am beautiful”, “I love you”, “It’s a new day”. Your mood will improve instantly every morning and if you are happy, then you can spread happiness all around you.
Written reminders can be a way to bring you back to the present moment and can bring a smile to your face. You choose the reminders you want to see every day.
This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when speaking about writing as therapy. But I wanted to mention all the previous minor steps that can still contribute to saving you from being sad or depressed.
Journaling can seem scary to dive right into if you have never tried it or haven’t done it in a while. The benefits are huge though. By putting your deepest thoughts and feelings on paper, you learn to listen to your inner voice, you gain perspective and forgiveness. It’s a blessing.
Writing in a journal frees up space in your mind, it declutters all the noise that you otherwise keep running in the background. It releases emotions and it keeps you mindful and connected with your inner self. Remember to write from the heart and with honesty to fully experience the power of journaling.
You might think it’s old-fashioned, but putting your expressive writing into a letter format will release your anger in a different way. If you are like me and don’t like arguments, then you always try to end a disagreement or you hold it in to avoid the escalation.
Letters are a huge help in blowing off steam, you get to write down all the words you didn’t get to address to the other person involved and reclaim your side of the story.
When it comes to sending or sharing the letter, opinions are divided depending on your intention. It might result in turning the disagreement into a bigger fight or it might feel like you are condescending and expressing words out of anger. In this case, you can just release it and throw it away. If it is about opening up with honesty about how you felt, it might be worth sharing it. Only you can make that decision.