How writing can be transformative
You may have heard the question–can writing transform your life? What can you do with a lousy situation, a problem that is chronic, an illness, grief? Writing is something you can do when there is nothing else to do. It is an outlet that can change the nature of how you feel, moving from helplessness to having choices. Writing can cheer you up if it’s funny and can help you create new meaning out of a difficulty. It can help you express despair and anger also without hurting anyone or yourself.
Writing can help put things into perspective, provide time for contemplation and focus. For some it is a cathartic release, a way of expressing what they would never say out loud to anyone else except maybe their therapist.
Letter writing to yourself or someone else is a very healing and connecting practice. At a memorial service I attended last year, people brought in beautiful written and illustrated letters sent by the woman who had died. They served as an extremely special remembrance for her. Letters of gratitude or appreciation are very moving to send out. How often does a special doctor, nurse, friend, or relative receive an actual pen and paper letter of thanks these days? It can also be very therapeutic to write letters and/or poems to people or pets who have died.
In 6 Unexpected Ways Writing can Transform your life Amanda Chan lists the health benefits of writing. She says that expressing emotions through words may actually speed healing by helping foster the expression of emotions rather than avoiding them.
Writing is a way to work on gratitude. You can think about what you are grateful for (and things we may take for granted like having a warm breakfast or seeing beautiful scenery from the car window can qualify). Even your sleep can benefit from having a gratitude journal. And if you are into art journaling, that could be an amazing medium for a gratitude journal.
Rebecca Emrich writes books and has two blogs. She says writing gave her a sense of purpose she hadn’t had before. She found it healing to improve her writing. Writing actually gave her a reason to wake up in the morning.
She says “I am a writer. I can write about many topics and love what I do. I can focus on one book or I can write a poem or three. The choices are endless. It can change a lot of points of view.”
Writing can help you feel a sense of importance. You may realize you actually do have something to say about things you are interested in. You may find it comforting to create images and themes that are creative and beautiful and share them with others. Writing is a way to connect with others and form a community, either organized, or random.
Now is a good time to try writing! All you need is pen and paper, or a computer and keyboard. Many people find they like to actually use the old fashioned way, but there is no right or wrong.
If you live in Palo Alto or in the Bay Area you may be interested in coming to my Writing for Healing group. For more information, go to my writing for healing page, contact me through my contact form or email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 415-273-1036.
I wish you good writing!
The image comes from Public Domain Pictures.