I’m going to be blunt—whether you think you need a dose of therapy or not, it’s at your fingertips whenever you need it.
I was shocked when one of my fellow author friends shared with me that he’s been journaling as a way of therapy.
To be clear, I’m not shocked about writing as therapy or journaling for healing. Not at all. What surprised me was this “tough as nails” experienced thriller/suspense author bared his soul. Might I also add, I just didn’t see him as a journaling guy; I thought he might use target practice or cage fighting as his remedy of choice. But it was a pleasant revelation to see this unexpected side of him.
Of course, therapy is not something he, nor any of us, should be ashamed of.
My therapies of choice are writing, meditation, and fitness. I need to indulge in them daily. We all have our “at home” tools to get us through rough moments and personal setbacks along with formal resources when needed.
Writing is therapeutic.
You don’t need to be an author or professional writer to use this “at home” therapy technique and garner the benefits. Nor should you hold back from experimenting with the benefits. Need proof it works? A Harvard Business Review article by Deborah Siengel-Acevedo says writing is a tool to help guide people through trauma and support positive mental health. When it comes to why writing works as therapy, she shares, “While it may seem counterintuitive that writing about negative experiences has a positive effect, some have posited that narrating the story of a past negative event or an ongoing anxiety ‘frees up’ cognitive resources. Research suggests that trauma damages brain tissue, but when people translate their emotional experience into words, they may be changing the way it is organized in the brain.
According to the Foundation for Art and Healing, “Writing is a form of expressive therapy that uses the process of creative writing to cope with and heal from emotional trauma. The relationship between expressive writing and healing was first studied by Dr. James Pennebaker in the late 1980s, whose seminal study revealed striking benefits of writing about trauma.”
Finally, writing is therapeutic for all ages. The Imagine Project, Inc. is designed to help children use their voices and creative expression to heal from trauma. They cite, “Expressive writing guides individuals to heal difficult life experiences and find the positive meaning of that event, improving emotional regulation ability, mental flexibility, ability to handle stress, and overall mental and emotional health.”
The proof is out there and the experiences, while subjective, are conclusive. Writing as therapy is an emerging tool for the novice and the expert to release, reorient, and recharge.