Therapeutic Writing

I hate to use this phrase, but, in these unprecedented times, we are collectively going through a hard time.

We can at least admit that.

After admitting it, we need to find ways to cope. Psychologist Courtney E. Ackerman describes Writing Therapy as a "low-cost, easily accessible, versatile form of therapy." Psychological studies show that Writing Therapy is effective for people suffering with anxiety, PTSD, grief, interpersonal relationship issues and communication skill issues.

Here are more reasons why Writing Therapy can be both therapeutic and profitable for you in these times.

Writing Is a Tool for Self Reflection

I am talented at making very questionable decisions when it comes to my personal life. I used to have toxic behavioral patterns that I repeated year after year. At the time, everyone noticed them but me. When I decided to write and reflect more, it became clear that I was the problem.

I would not have come to that conclusion if I hadn't used Writing Therapy. Writing about my experiences allowed me to let my thoughts flow freely. Days later, I would read those entries with emotional distance and see the true foolishness of my ways.

At times, I would not even know why I was angry or frustrated about a situation until my subconscious expressed it through my writing. It is very easy to judge other people's situations but it is different when it is about us.

I find that when you write about that person you disappointed, and reflect upon your own actions, you find clarity. This is especially helpful if you have trust issues and would rather vent to yourself than to another person.

Re-reading Past Experiences Reveals Self-Growth

When I was 16 I was best known for being a drama queen. I would get riled up over the simplest things. At the time, I felt completely reasonable, but to everyone else, I was unbearable. There was also a time when I was so bad at writing in English that I wanted to quit school because I felt like a failure.

Now that I'm an editor, professional writer and writing consultant, I read those past journal entries with amusement. When I re-read my journal entries I am filled with pride because of my self growth. It is inspiring to see that I overcame obstacles I doubted I could. The past makes me have more faith for today.

When you write about the challenges you are experiencing today, and in a year from now you look back, you will understand. If you feel sad that you're still in the same stagnant place mentally or emotionally then you have reasons to be better. If you feel joyful, or even amused...then that's growth.

Fall In Love With Life and Existence

Give me regret, as long as I can have the good memories too.

Some of the best days of your life should be written down, photographed and cherished. The sheer joy of going back to observe all the highs you've had in your life is enough to change your mood and perspective.

You could decide to only write about the best experiences you have and create a collection of thankfulness. The power in this alone helps you understand that life is not all bad all the time. In life, there are some good memories and there are some cringey ones.

Fall in love with your life again. Look at the significant impact some people have had on your life. Accept how amazing and flawed you are (we can be both). Writing can be an outlet; a source of therapy and self-reflection.

When you write about yourself, you get to know yourself better.

When you understand yourself better, you are better able to express your needs and communicate effectively with the people you love.

Maybe you will even learn to love yourself someday; flaws and all.

It Is About You, So Why Not?

I have clients who want to write memoirs. When the writing journey begins, it is always helpful when they already have years or decades worth of content to build memorable autobiographies.

A journal can later turn into an autobiography that will outlive you and your generations. That book could generate revenue for decades while sharing your life experiences and wisdom with thousands of people worldwide.

Now that is a legacy.

Even if you don't see yourself in that category, I still encourage you to write. It doesn't have to be good, it just needs to be honest. It will allow you to look within yourself and come face-to-face with the ugliness and the beauty we all possess. You may find answers to questions you didn't even know you needed answering.

Just try it.

It's about you, and there is nothing to lose.