There is a TON of data on the benefits of writing therapy. Overall, the evidence points to its effectiveness in helping people identify and accept their emotions, manage their stress, and ease the symptoms of mental illness.
Writing can be a form of mindfulness; an opportunity to be present with your thoughts without judgment.
Plus, our hands are energetic tools, and writing is one way we can manage and express our energy.
What exactly is journaling?
It's. So. Simple. Journaling is essentially a written record of your thoughts & feelings. There are no rules or restrictions on how you do it -- and sometimes that in itself can be daunting for a beginner. It can be helpful as you get started to follow some prompts or guidelines until you feel comfortable enough free-writing (keep reading for ideas).
What are the key benefits?
Cope with depression
For more tips on connecting with emotions through writing, see Justine's article here
It can strengthen your immune system
Reduce blood pressure
Help you sleep better
Generally keep you healthier
How do I get started?
Figure out what is most convenient for you. It can be a dedicated journal or notebook, a document on the computer, or even a Notes app on your phone (you can even talk to text with this one).
Carve out the time to do it, and aim to make it a daily routine. Even if it's just a few minutes to get down your thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
Try beginning with a brief breathing practice to center yourself before you start writing.
This might be a tough one, but try not to judge what arises during your writing exercises and be compassionate with yourself as thoughts and feelings arise.
Let it flow with free-writing. Put your thoughts on paper as they arrive in your consciousness without being concerned about it making sense, being cohesive or even regards to spelling or grammar. This is a time to express yourself without having to be concerned about what others may think.
If you'd like a little more guidance, here are some prompts to get you started:
What are your intentions for today?
Write about an experience that stood out in your day. Was there something that sparked notable joy, anger, frustration, or excitement? Did something provoke incessant or overwhelming thoughts?
Write about your dreams if you remember them.
What are you grateful for?
What are you feeling right now?
What are you looking forward to?
List the sounds around you and describe them.
Describe the physical sensations of the current moment: sitting in your seat, your feet against the ground, the physical act of writing (or typing).
Write about not knowing what to write about (you'll be surprised what can come up!).
We've created a new workshop Healing in Writing to guide you through as you begin your journey of using this tool as a part of your self-care routine.
Our first one is November 14th 4-5:30pm EST! Spots are limited, so be sure to register (click here) -- if you've been beckoned to journal, you definitely don't want to miss it.