Friday, November 28, 2014

How Writing Contributes to Healing

Everything that happens in life whether directly to us, to someone close to us, or in the environment around us, has an impact. Some effects are obvious, while others are more subtle and take longer to surface. There are a number of things we carry with us, though we are not always conscious of our baggage.

Some of us function seemingly fine in spite of our baggage, and some have trouble managing the ups and downs of daily life. Getting help is sometimes difficult, especially when money for counseling or therapy is not part of the budget.

Humans are terribly resilient, and while therapy may be necessary for some, other can get by with self-help and/or centering techniques such as exercise, meditation, and reflective writing.

Reflective Writing and Healing

Healing from a loss or disappointment or some other kind of setback takes time. The key to moving forward from grief or other internal pain is in developing an awareness of it so it ceases to be quite as painful. One means of getting to this point is writing. From simple journal or even letter writing that gets your feelings out to the more focused approach of reflective writing, developing increased self awareness helps to put things in perspective so that they are less difficult to deal with.
Writing helps you get all the facts in order at times when you need to make a decision about what to do next. It lets you examine a situation from all sides looking at the pros and cons so you can determine what is best for you. If you have lost a job or a relationship or a loved one, writing about the experience helps clear your head to start over again with new purpose.
Keeping a journal is simple enough. You record your thoughts and feelings and it can sometimes have the cathartic effect of confronting someone who has hurt you but without the drama of an actual confrontation. You can sort things out and decide what you should or shouldn't say or if it's even necessary to say anything at all.
Speaking of confrontation, letter writing is a very affective means of getting everything out of your system without having to be face to face with the person you are writing to. Even if the person who has harmed you is deceased you can still gain closure from writing a letter telling them exactly how what they did made you feel. This is actually better than confronting someone face to face over an emotional issue. When you confront someone without the assistance of a trained therapist, things can backfire and you may end up with the situation being worse.
Reflective Writing as a tool is an invaluable resource that everyone should utilize. Writing reflectively triggers memory, sparks creativity, and develops mindfulness. It can be viewed as similar to responsive essay writing in school where you were given something to read and then told to write a reaction to it. You can use quotes, photographs, or objects to spark your writing and explore your feelings. One very effective exercise is to write a letter to a problem.
By exploring the thing that causes you pain through writing you effectively take the sting out. Learning to look at a situation from another perspective not only eases discord, it provides a path to creative solutions and problem solving.

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