Navina is a poet and writer living on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. She is currently curating her poetry to put together and launch her first book. Growing up as an introvert she found herself able to express herself through her writing and this then became her passion and drive. She found that writing as a form of therapy, worked for her and enabled her to release all her emotions on to paper.
How I used therapeutic writing to improve my mental health and well-being
It is Saturday morning, and I am sitting on my chaise longue, cuddled up in my softest cardigan, with a fragrant black coffee and my “creative book” next to me. The sun is shining through the floor to ceiling windows, and I feel perfectly happy.
However, it wasn’t always that easy for me to find contentment in the small things. In this blog post, I will share how therapeutic writing improved my mental health and well-being.
The beginning and what didn’t work
When I was first introduced to therapeutic writing, my mentors and coaches would usually suggest journaling, writing a gratitude list, saying, and writing down affirmations.
I do believe, these tools can have a positive impact on our mental health and well-being – but back then, it wasn’t the right thing for me. Trying to fit it all into my morning routine was exhausting to say the least, and journaling never made me feel like any weight has been lifted. I even felt heavier at times.
What I learned is, when it comes to our own healing journey, we all have our best practices and tools that support us. As individual as we all are, as individual are our preferred routines and rituals. For me, writing, listening, and making music have been the tools that supported me the most on my own healing journey. And they still do.
Let’s dive deeper into how therapeutic writing helped me, even though journaling did not. And I will also answer the question, what role active listening plays.
Therapeutic writing – and what it is
In general, therapeutic writing is so beneficial to our mental health because when we write, it feels like we speak to another consciousness and through writing, we can meet a different part of the self. It also helps to make sense of our thoughts, which are usually only snippets and by writing them down, we can find patterns and understand what our thoughts and emotions are trying to tell us.
Therapeutic writing, or also called writing therapy, can be done in different ways.
It can be:
- Free journaling or with prompts/photos
- Writing a letter to yourself or another person
- Mind mapping
- Free writing
- Or, writing a poem
This is also what I love about this tool because it gives you many options to choose from and find the one that’s working for you!
How listening in paved the way to an improved well-being
Once I realised, journaling doesn’t help improve my well-being, I asked myself every morning: What would make me feel good now? And then, I would simply listen to what my body and mind answered.
Whenever I feel unease in my body, or I observe my mind wandering off, I go to my “therapy couch” (the chaise longue I am currently sitting on), lay down, relax, and listen in. I listen to my body, mind, and soul, allowing them to tell me whatever needs to be told.
Poetry as a form of therapeutic writing and how it improved my well-being
The answer to my own preferred morning routine and healing ritual was inside of me all along and once I knew what I had to do, it felt easy, and I could feel the positive effect it had on my mental health very quickly.
By listening in, I found out that my mind and soul weren’t ready to process every feeling and thought that came up while journaling.
But by writing down these feelings and memories while thinking about how to put them into form – into the form of poetry – I was able to detach myself in a certain way.
Writing poetry for healing, well-being and mental health is my way of processing current events and past situations – this is my way of therapeutic writing.
The most important lesson to be learned is, there is no right or wrong when it comes to our own healing journey, and nobody knows what’s best for you, except you!