Writing has proven itself to be one of the most valuable assets in my journey to better mental health. Not only is there something therapeutic about getting thoughts to paper (or screen), but for me, it helps shine a light on some underlying issues that I wasn’t aware were on the forefront of my mind.
The University of Rochester Medical Centre has also posted a great article about Journaling for Mental Health. In the article, they list these as some of the key benefits of writing
- Manage anxiety
- Reduce stress
- Cope with depression
I journal most days, some days it’s a very brief overview of how I’m feeling or what I’ve done, other days, it’s pages after pages of my thoughts and feelings. Like a tap that has been left on and unattended, it keeps gurgling away. I can get carried away with my thoughts and write for hours, uncovering nuggets of information I then use as clues - leading me to what my mind wants to repair.
Journaling doesn’t have to be strictly word-based. If you’re more of a visual person who prefers to describe things in drawings or illustrations, this is a great outlet too.
When I’m writing, I very much so enjoy writing about my life as if it’s not mine. I like describing life in a poetic manner; it helps when reading back through it to not seem so harsh when I haven’t been feeling the best. Additionally, this helps me become more descriptive, and word it in ways that I wouldn’t be able to think of during a conversation. This also opens up the door to easier dissection of what I have created. The clearer I have written my thoughts and feelings, the better understanding I can gain from them.
In the times I’m suffering badly with my mental health, for my nearest and dearest, I tend to write out a summary of what’s wrong; because I seem to choke up when I’m actually talking. Words seem unable to leave my mouth as if it’s my body repelling the confessions as a form of self-preservation. On the same note, sometimes, I write these letters out when I know I’m not feeling okay, but even I can’t deduce what is truly wrong. There doesn’t always seem to be rhyme or reason behind my decline in mental health, however, writing is still serving its purpose of being an important lifeline for communicating with those I love the most.
Normally, after a long session of confessing my deepest and darkest fears/worries/thoughts, I feel an immense sense of relief. Even if no one else in this world will read it, it’s no longer just festering inside my mind. It’s partially been evicted and leaves me with some space to start my healing process.
For those who are fans of old-school pen and paper writing, one thing that I find extremely satisfying is writing out the things that petrify me the most, the things that I feel the most aversion to, the things I’m almost too scared to admit and then set the paper alight. Watching the words that terrified me turn into mere embers feels freeing. It’s not a grand display, nor a long one seeing as paper burns rather quickly, but still a gratifying one.
For anyone wanting to start their discovery of their deeper mental health, I highly recommend writing. It may not be your cup of tea, and that is okay. Alternatively, it could be an incredibly useful tool in taking that first plunge into the lagoon of your thoughts.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us on Instagram on journaling or writing about your thoughts, we would love to hear from you.