￼As a psychologist and writer, I believe writing aids us in understanding life’s challenges, and that through practice, we become better writers. When we translate painful or confusing events from the unspoken into written language, we alter our perceptions and fundamentally make the experience graspable. You can heal the body by connecting to the mind using writing as a restorative tool.
Natalie Goldberg, author and writing guru wrote, in her books about writing￼:
“Write about what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
It took several losses for me to finally “split open” and comprehend what life, at least my life, was about. ￼ Writing was a pathway, and part of my clinical strategy in my work as a mental health professional, that I call stones across the river. ￼The river being the rapids of life.￼ Many of my patients have experienced relief from writing their experiences in a journal or computer, between our sessions.￼
Writing Shines a Light Into the Abyss
The subconscious mind can be a dark source of paralyzing nightmares, intrusive thoughts, worries, and unhealed trauma. ￼This stockpiled stress allows illness to infiltrate cells and psyche, through the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, and unhealthy habits such as self-medicating, insomnia, and poor nutrition. ￼
Think of writing your truth, whether it be grief, loss, fear, illness, or heartbreak, as though you are shining a light into abyss. Once this light is shone, the dark places tend to wither, and sooner or later their influence over you starts to wane.
Through Writing, I Created My Own Shaman
Many people who write create characters or experiences from deep in the subconscious mind psychologically. ￼Writing accesses a place that you may not be able to speak about as easily.￼
Writing as a Mindfulness Technique
Cambridge University, Department of Psychology recently posted interesting research about individuals who were asked to engage in expressive writing for 15-minutes a day, without downplaying their emotions. The research found that people who weren’t shy about expressing the difficult emotions they experienced in their writing had better physical and mental health than those who wrote on neutral topics. One benefit of writing is that it helps you concentrate on one thing and free your mind from other stuff that bothers you and can overcrowd your brain. Practicing writing every day will help you understand your actions and behaviors better, but will also help relieve anxiety.
Clearing Space in Your Head
Sometimes thoughts, feelings, and emotions overfill our minds, creating traffic jams and bringing anxiety. What your mind needs at this point is a tool, like a traffic light, to bring some consistency and structure to your thoughts and emotions. Writing can serve that function.