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Using Therapeutic Writing for Your Mental Health

For many, writing helps them deal with their emotions in a safe, controlled space. Handling a global pandemic has been a stress-inducing experience, so it’s not surprising that many people are struggling with their mental health. A recent poll found that nearly half of Americans felt that their mental health was being affected negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After months of uncertainty, fear, disruptions to everyday routines, and isolation compound on existing mental health issues and cause even those who have not had problems prior to the pandemic to struggle. There is no better time to consider using writing as a way to cope with your feelings, especially when options for coping are limited. 

Even if you don’t consider yourself a gifted writer, writing can be incredibly cathartic. Writing allows you to process your emotions, or even reflect back on them later once your emotions have subsided. This can allow you to look back at the situation when you are in a different headspace. Here are a few ways that writing can help you process your trauma or begin to change your outlook. 

You Can Do It On Your Own

Writing allows you to put your feelings into words without anyone else being involved. Getting emotional in front of others makes many people uncomfortable, and it can be an embarrassing or awkward process. In fear of judgment, it’s challenging to let your emotions come through. Sometimes it’s easier to let it all out in the privacy of your own room, knowing that no one is going to judge you. 

It’s Free

The pandemic has left many dealing with financial uncertainty. While writing is no replacement for a trained therapist, writing is free. It’s emotionally healing and costs nothing. You can also write anywhere –  your home, your local park, your garden. All you need is a pen and paper. 

Get a Sense of Achievement

As a creative hobby, writing can give you a sense of achievement and purpose. Writing can help you feel production, giving you a sense of satisfaction and a boose of self-confidence. Even if your writing is just sad word jumbles, a letter to a friend or a poem you’re proud of, crafting your emotions into works on a page can give you an endorphin boost. Writing is about creating something rather than consuming it (Netflix binge anyone?), actively engaging your mind in a way that other things won’t. 

Reevaluate Your Situation

Writing allows you to stop and reflect on your feelings, seeing them from a new perspective and giving you the opportunity to put them into context. Our emotions can hide the truth of the situation and make us see things that only confirm our fears and concerns. Writing when you are at the height of your emotions allows you to go back later when you are calmer and can look at it from a more logical point of view. 

Give Meaning to Your Feelings

If your emotions are strong, we sometimes block those out because it’s easier to pretend our feelings don’t exist. Long-term, this isn’t a great solution. Emotions are meant to be felt, and hiding our feelings can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Writing our feelings helps us process them in a natural, healthy way. 

Remember, writing is not a replacement for real therapeutic intervention or medications. It is a useful self-help technique that helps many work through their emotions or trauma. If you need more help, reach out to us. We’re seeing patients remotely at this time.

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