I have been writing professionally as a journalist for about 13 years. But I’ve been journaling since middle school. That journaling turned into several blogs. In my life, writing has been a way for me to learn to express myself, and deal with my emotions. Many people kept journals as children, but don’t make the time as adults to write for wellness. I shared the information in this article in a workshop at the African Village Arts Festival in August, and hope it can help people reconnect with the power of journaling.
You don’t have to be an artist, or see yourself as creative to using writing for therapeutic purposes. Studies show that journaling can help you clarify your thoughts and feelings, know yourself better, reduce stress, solve problems more effectively, and resolve disagreements with others better.
Read about the health benefits of writing
An important first step when starting any new practice is setting personal goals and affirmations. This is a great way to when you only have a little bit of time.
Here are the rules to writing affirmations:
- Affirmations support the present, not what you want to be or what you were, but who you are right now in this moment.
- Affirmations are are positive statements, not what you want to stop or change.
- Affirmations are personal statements, so don’t worry about what others may think or see if they see this.
- Affirmations are precise, so be specific about what you intend.
- Affirmations are powerful. Today we are manifesting words, and words are powerful. So know maybes and mights. We are sending powerful intentions to the universe for healing and wellness today.
Here are some affirmation prompts that you can make into complete sentences.
Writing Exercise 1
The first exercise is a free writing session. Free writing doesn’t have to be grammatically correct or have sentence structure. Just allow your mind to be open and let the words flow from your mind to your pen. You may repeat words, you may have a series or words. Whatever happens just let it happen.
Take seven minutes to write about your childhood. Whatever comes up when you hear the word childhood. Just let your mind be free and write.
After seven minutes, take a couple more minutes to reflect on how it felt to write about your childhood. Write down any emotions that surprised you.
Writing Exercise 2
This exercise you will have a choice between two writing prompts. This workshop is for healing, and I believe that we need to make sure we are healing from being overexposed to media and when terrible things happen in society. Writing gives you a way to document your feelings and a safe space to express anger, fear, doubts and dreams. Take seven minutes to talk about one of the following:
Prompt 1: What kind of experiences have you or someone you know had with the police?
Prompt 2: Talk about a time your experienced subtle or in-your-face discrimination.
After seven minutes, take some time to reflect on how it felt to write about these issues. Write down any emotions that surprised you.
Writing Exercise 3
Finally, it is important to stay grounded and anchored. Some people find that in religion or spirituality. Whatever you may call it, at the core of those practices is gratitude. Every religion or spiritual practice asks people to be grateful for the life they have.
Take seven minutes to write about: How do you find peace? What are you grateful for?
After seven minutes take some time to reflect on how it felt to write about gratitude. Was this last prompt easy or hard?
If you wrote affirmations and did the three writing exercises above, then you wrote for about 30 minutes! That’s a great start! Sometimes you don’t have 30 minutes for a good writing session. So pick one exercise to write for the next week. You may write something different or unexpected, even though you are using the same writing exercises. Next, I will share some writing tips to help you Write for Wellness on a regular basis.
If you have any questions or comments about this Writing For Wellness series, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please feel free to share your writing!