Whether affected by change, loss, or pain, finding the time and courage to write can support the healing process. In fact, when navigating difficult times, writing can be an invaluable and inexpensive way to heal. When feeling sadness, fear, or anger, it can be quite cathartic to pour feelings out via the written word. A dear writing colleague of mine once said, “If it hurts, write harder.”
Writing has a way of adding purpose and meaning to life, and helps us tap into intuition, uncover secrets, enhances communication skills, improves mental health, and provides the tools to plan for the future. If writing about something that happened a long time ago, memories may become blurred over time. Writing can help organize thoughts, and help us remember.
Basically, we are all storytellers. Stories help us understand and make sense of our lives, the lessons we’ve learned, and our dreams for the future. Storytelling is a universal way of communicating cultural traditions, values and beliefs. My book, Writing for Bliss, explains how writing personal narratives can help examine our lives, and also helps us share our stories with others. Writing for healing is very useful when recovering from trauma such as PTSD and certain illnesses. It’s also helpful when in recovery from addictions.
Some people also find it useful to write as they move through a chaotic or difficult time; but, more often than not, a certain distance from the event offers a better perspective needed for healing and transformation.
Journaling is a good way to begin writing. The art of journaling dates back to when people wrote on cave walls. Later, the tenth-century court lady Sei Shonoagan kept a famous writer’s notebook where she recorded a bunch of catch-alls that were charming and annoying, descriptions of nature, odd facts, and malicious observations of countrymen. It could have been considered an early form of blogging.
It’s fascinating to write about our lives with a child’s curiosity and awe. Writing with a child’s magical mind-set can be a beneficial way to unearth profound secrets that may be swirling about in the subconscious mind.
Whether affected by change, loss, or pain, finding the time to write is crucial to the healing process. Personal writing for healing and transformation takes many forms, such as poetry, journaling, fiction writing, essay writing, or letter writing. Choosing form is highly individualized and usually matches an individual’s personality. It’s fun to experiment with the different forms and once we find our form then the words flow easily and we feel healthy, inspired and empowered.
Taking the time to engage in some personal writing, whether it’s recording thoughts in a journal; writing a poem, novel, memoir, or essay; or penning a letter, propels us on a voyage of self-discovery and self-awareness. Writing also offers you the opportunity to vent, and inspires mindfulness, which studies have shown is linked to happiness.
Regardless of the chosen form, here are some prompts to springboard the writing process: