Using Creative Writing as a Tool to Improve Mental Health

Wellness News

By Diana Adjadj,

Probably, everybody knows such a state of a person when one needs to express own emotions and feelings with the help of words. It helps to get psychological relief during a conversation with a psychologist or a loved one. Such a conversation allows you to withdraw from the inner world all the accumulated thoughts, feelings, emotions and experiences, which leads to psychological relaxation, catharsis or purification.

Human nature is such that we can not always adequately and fully respond to different life circumstances. A lot of things remain unsaid, unexpressed with the help of words, gestures and facial expressions. Many emotions and feelings remain in us in the form of internal knots, crumpled and hidden in the distant and dark shelves of the psyche.

However, there is a tool that is able not only to improve your mental health but give a new wave of inspiration, confidence and internal forces. This is the method of creative or free writing, and in this article, we will tell you how to use it to make your mental condition more stable.

Make Writing an Obligation

Writing helps us handling negative feelings and improves our mental condition. Scientific studies confirm this statement. Back in 1994, in the course of the study, 63 unemployed engineers were instructed to write.

The participating engineers were divided into three groups: the first wrote down plans for the day and the results of the job search, the second did not write anything, the third kept a detailed diary of thoughts and experiences. Three months later, five engineers from the last group got the job, while the other groups did not have any results.

Eight months later, 22% from the first group, 14% from the second group and 53% from the third group found a full-time job. Thus, when you write about the thoughts and feelings that overwhelm you during difficult periods of life, it helps you to experience them faster, which means you can reach a new level and see new perspectives.

In other words, the researchers found that the suppression of negative feelings is a heavy burden, and to describe them, not for publication, but for oneself it is like a free medicine for the soul.

After all, not everyone has such friends who can listen and understand what you really feel, most often we keep all negative emotions inside, and put on a mask for people. Creative writing of everything that happens to us really helps to cope with unpleasant situations and to improve mental health. So in psychotherapy, there are many techniques that are based on writing – writing goodbyes, forgiveness, and so on. It is much easier to get rid of things that are formulated and written on paper than what is closed inside. 

Create a Physical Space For Writing

Don’t spend your writing time carving out a place to write. Instead, have a place ready at all times. By the way, the order in the house and the order in personal things very much helps to bring order to thoughts. Something as simple as a chair with a small table with some notebooks or tablet PC is sufficient.

Write What You Are Able to Write

If you find it difficult to cope with life situations and you do not know what to do, start writing. Write at least three lines. Let it be even the shortest post.

In the book by Julia Cameron “The path of the artist” is the technique of “Morning Pages.” This is very simple. You only need to write every morning three pages of any text. It really helps to get out of not only the creative crisis but also from the global crisis of your life and outline new ways for your development.

A few more ideas that will help you more effectively use this technique. The easiest way to start writing is by answering a question. For example: “What do I think about …” The main idea of ​​this method is that if you write without stopping, in a free and creative style, then a moment comes when two interesting things happen:

  • The need to write non-stop makes the brain “wake up”, go beyond the standard patterns of thinking. The mind seems to be driven into a corner and he, willy-nilly, has to generate new thoughts.
  • Since one of the conditions for creative writing is an agreement that you write exclusively for yourself, our “inner critic” at some point simply gives up and retreats, which contributes to the emergence of new original ideas.

Don’t Edit Yourself

You have probably noticed such an interesting feature that if you are asked to express your opinion on a certain subject in a friendly conversation, then you can do it quite easily. As a last resort, you can always say something like: “I am not an expert in this, but I think that …”.

But if you are asked to WRITE about this, then most likely you will perceive it as a very serious task that will require much more time.

Why does it happen? Starting to write, we turn on the “inner critic”. Since childhood, we have been taught that “written work” is waiting for some kind of test. Therefore, even when you write for yourself, you can often fall into a stupor or patterned thinking.

So, the advantage of the written way of presenting thoughts is that it allows you to concentrate better, and the minus is that you always want to make some edits and the thinking becomes more stereotyped. In addition, there is a danger of falling into perfectionism, trying to endlessly polish the writing.

So, to save the pros and get rid of the minuses of a written statement of thoughts, you need to write quickly and without stopping. Until you feel you are absolutely careless of how many mistakes you made in your text.

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