| Peter Cook
Writing is therapeutic.
Putting pen to paper and expressing yourself can help with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, OCD, grief and loss, low self-esteem, substance abuse, and many more mental illnesses.
Not only does writing empowers, but it also gives you joy, confidence, and a way of being 'heard.' Writing helps to let negative feelings go. It makes you vulnerable but also comfortable with being so.
In today’s blog, we look at how writing in a journal or just freestyle writing can help you heal.
‘But I can’t write!’
The whole process of writing as a therapeutic tool is more important than the actual writing itself. Even if you feel you ‘can’t write,’ you can still benefit. All you need is some motivation!
Writing requires self-examination, which is where you want to end up. You want to make some sense of the past, events, and people and inspect what happened to you. Seeing cause and effect can help you understand exactly how you ended up where you are. It can be invigorating.
Five tips to get you started
It can be challenging to get started, especially if you feel you are not someone who 'writes.' Here are a few ideas to think about.
- There are different ways to write. You can use a traditional examination pad or a notebook, but you can also register online on a journaling program. Some people start a blog because they like the feedback they get from others. Some people want an art journal so that they can personalize their writing with doodles or sketches.
- Set a timer.It might be intimidating to try and write for hours at a time each day. Commit to writing 10 minutes per day and time yourself. It will help you not to become discouraged and cement your commitment to try this coping skill.
- What am I going to write about?Try one of these ideas:
- Write a letter to yourself or someone near to you, describing where you are in your life. Or write a letter to your addiction and address it as you would a person.
- Draw a mind map. Set your main problem in the middle and then branch out with different components. This can help you practice problem-solving.
- Write down how you feel about recovery or about the things you want to get back, like trust or a house.
- Make a list of things you are grateful for.
- What makes you smile? Why does thinking about this make you happy? This will assist in self-exploration.
- You are a character in a book. Describe yourself. What attributes would you have? What about your life will be the same and what would be different?
- Write down whatever comes to mind! A stream of words written intuitively can reveal a lot.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. It does not matter how ‘well’ you are writing. It is not the aim of this exercise. The objective is to get the hurt out.
- Take some time to reflect on your writing.What feelings and thoughts arose while you were writing? It would help if you reflected on the insights you gained. The more you write, the more likely it is that your subconscious will start talking to you.
Get it out into the light.
Journaling is a therapeutic activity that is widely used in addiction recovery. It helps you to connect with your emotions and provides introspection. Your substance of choice numbed your feelings for a long time, and writing can help bring about a positive change.
At Largest Heart, we believe that self-exploration is a vital part of recovery. Why not try writing about everything that happened to you?