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Expressive Writing

6th Jul 2018

Expressive Writing

Expressive WritingThe nature of modern technology means that we are now documenting our lives in different ways, for many of us when we were young, events may have been recorded in a diary, or we may have had some sort of scrap booking or journal system for recording important events, as well as our thoughts and feelings. But now it is quite likely that these methods are deemed outdated and we are recording our lives in a digital manner, and perhaps memorialising them via social media platforms.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with embracing everything that modern living has to offer, there are some art forms that are being forsaken along the way, take writing for example. Very often we use words now as little as possible, with communications limited to an amount of characters or words.

One of the reasons this is quite sad, is that that the benefits of writing expressively has many therapeutic health advantages.

What does Expressive Writing Mean?

When we talk about ‘expressive writing’; this can take on many forms – you might write short stories or poems for fun or go to a creative writing class. But at its simplest form you may just write down a few notes about your day, especially any incidents that happened, and how you felt.

Scientists are not entirely sure why expressive writing works, but it is likely the action of putting pen to paper, that lets people fit the experiences of the day into the narrative of their lives and in turn make sense of what happened, and perhaps more importantly whether they might do anything differently should the situation arise again.

The ability to make sense of a problem, is what gives us back a feeling of being in control, and with it a reduction in our stress and anxiety levels.

One thing to be mindful of is that when you fist start writing about any emotional episodes or things that are troubling you, you may feel worse to begin with. But after several days of documenting your feelings in this way you begin to see the benefits. What has also been shown is that those that are more honest and descriptive about the more negative aspects of the day, have better long-term outcomes than those who keep their narratives on the more neutral side.

If people have trouble opening up during a psychic reading or more conventional counselling, then it can be helpful to use what they have written in diary or story form as a jumping off point. Sometimes clients find it easier to talk more in the abstract about a story they have written rather than describe things as themselves, but the themes in the stories very often have parallels in their own life situation.

They say each of us has at least one book in us, but if the thought of writing anything of length fills you with dread, then don’t worry as you can still make use of expressive writing but in shorter form. Studies have shown that if you have a regret – this can be from the past or present, something you did or said, or equally something you wish you did but didn’t and so on… then write it down on a piece of paper. The next step might seem a little odd, but it is recommended that you seal that regret in an envelope. Placing the regret in the envelope provides a form of closure that you otherwise would not get from just thinking or merely writing down the regret. Those that periodically deal with any feelings of regret, remorse, guilt and so on like this find they achieve a better mood and feeling of well-being, than those that don’t acknowledge or deal with the emotions in anyway.

Ref: The Bedside Book of Psychology

 

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