Writing as Therapy

I love writing, I always have. Whether it’s journaling, story-telling, blogging, writing poetry or letters, I just love the getting thoughts out of my head and onto paper. There are so many ways writing can help us to make sense of the world, our thoughts, events, emotions. Getting all that junk out of your head can really help us to let go of cyclic thoughts or emotions we feel trapped in. Writing can also help to motivate us and bring more happiness into our day. It can be a way of creating, communicating and sharing. Writing can do so much and the physical process of putting pen to paper, making intangible ideas concrete, can create magic.

Below I’m sharing some of my favourite activities and ways of using writing to help me work through heavy things, heal old wounds and make my life a little happier.


Writing to Process

Journaling

This can be done in many ways but getting thoughts out of our head and onto paper can help us make sense of ideas. When we have to get actual sentences down on paper we process our thoughts to get them down in a way that makes sense. This can then help lead to insights and better formed ideas and action. It can also be a useful way to track repetitive thoughts, actions or emotions which are getting us down.

Stream of Consciousness

Similarly to journaling, this gets the junk out of your head to space for what you really need to be focusing on. Stream of consciousness writing is writing down everything that flows through your mind, even if that means starting out with ‘I don’t know what I’m doing or why I’m writing this…’ eventually more things flow. You can really surprise yourself with what comes up. It can help you to realise things you’re subconsciously holding onto or get to the root of a problem by delving deeper.

Pros and Cons

I always have and always will love a pros and cons list. It can help you to really gain clarity and insight into what is important to you when making a decision. We usually already know what we want but sometimes struggle to get to that decision by ourselves this can be a useful way to acknowledge what’s stopping us making the decision or what’s holding us back. One side usually has a much longer list!


Writing to Let Go

Letters

This can be a powerful but emotive way to get to a point of letting go of something we’re holding onto. Writing a letter to someone (someone we’ve lost, someone who we feel has wronged us, someone we’ve never met) can be a way to work through past or present emotions and feelings. We don’t have to do anything with the letter but us addressing it to that person and focusing on them can help us release stuff that can get a little stuck.

Burning/Tearing up Writing

Another writing tool we can use to let go is to write down something we want to let go of, something emotion, idea, thought which isn’t serving us and take the piece of paper and burn it or tear it up or put it through a shredder. This activity helps us to let go by physically releasing the words, it makes it more real.


Writing to Motivate

Goal Setting

Goal setting can take many forms but it works best when goals are physically written down. Seeing your goals written down in black and white (or colour if that’s your bag) makes them more real, more definite. We have to define the parameters of the goals when we write them down, we make them clear. This also helps us to achieve them as we can keep the written goals visible to us.

Mantras

Positive affirmations, quotes to live by, whatever you want to call them. Writing down mantras can help us keep them to mind either having them visible for us throughout the day or by writing them down each day, reaffirming them to ourselves.


Writing to Celebrate

Gratitude

There are many different ways to practice gratitude and it’s obvious that by focusing on what we’re grateful for we can have a little more of a positive outlook. Writing down what we’re grateful for we can often notice when we repeat the same things and it can invite us to look for other things we’re grateful for, finding gratitude in more places. Focusing our minds on finding gratitude in moments can really help us reframe how we view experiences.

Achievements

We often forget to celebrate ourselves and all we’ve done. We can get caught up in comparison and the achievements of others. Writing a list of your achievements, things you’re proud of, can be a really powerful way of reminding yourself of your abilities and the wonderful things you’ve contributed to the world or achieved.

Happiness Lists

The idea of a happiness list is to create a list of all the moments that make you happy or bring a smile to your face and when you’re feeling a little blue you can look through the list and it’ll help lift your mood a little reminding you of all the wonderful things that make you happy. This can also be done using a jar and writing on slips of paper, adding to it over time.


Writing to Share

Blogging

If you have a story, experience or knowledge to share, blogging is a great way to do it. There’s a great community online and it can be really great to connect with others about a mutual experience or interest.

Social Media

Similarly to blogging, another great way to connect with others and share is via social media platforms. It’s important to be mindful of your use of social media and which platforms you specifically choose to be a part of but it can be a great way to share.

Letters

It’s become a bit of a lost art form but sending handwritten letters to friends and loved ones can be really special and feel more personal and thoughtful. It’s a great way to show someone you care.


Writing to Create

Story Telling

Writing a story can be a great way to not only escape reality for a bit but help you to make sense of the world through characters and play. Creating something also brings a great feeling of accomplishment.

Poems/Songs

Writing poetry or songs can be a great way to express yourself and find an outlet for thoughts or emotions through words.


These are some of my favourite ways of using writing as a therapeutic tool. Are there any you use that I might have missed?

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