23+ wellbeing things. No. 16 – Write yourself well

Fountain pen writing on lined paperWriting is powerful therapy available us all.  We tend to think in snatches of ideas intuitively linked and woven together into a maelstrom of thought from which we derive an impression of reason that is often not all that robust.  When our thoughts make us unhappy, this is powerful.  Writing down what we think fixes our thoughts, it captures them so they cannot escape our scrutiny.  We can vent our frustrations and fears onto paper and then gain valuable insights into the deeper reasons for why we feel the way we do.  To pour your thoughts onto paper is to have a deep and frank conversation with yourself, to counsel yourself and feel better with the sharing.  Like other forms of moving meditation, writing gives external form to inner experience and helps the body release what is held within.

Things to try

Free writing

Just pour out what you feel onto paper without thought, without censorship.  A true stream of consciousness.  Everything is permitted here.  No thought or connection is too bizarre, too awful, too soppy.  Your thoughts are not to be believed but they give you a window to look into the broiling cacophony of fears and half-formed feelings dancing within your mind and allows you to stay them a moment, acknowledge reality, and choose how to move forward from here.


Connect images, feelings, sensations, thoughts, insights and observations.  Poetry has no true form but it has a tone and theme.  Writing an entire poem in one sitting is too daunting for many but jotting down snippets in a pocket notebook as things spring to mind can be deeply enjoyable and rewarding.  Writing should be fun, after all!

Write a letter

Write to someone you trust about how your really feel.  You need never send it.  Write to someone with whom you are angry, frustrated or jealous.  Tell them how you feel and then store the letter where it can never be found.  The real recipient of the letter is you.  Telling someone how you feel helps your own mind.


Further ideas

These are just some ideas.  Experts have written much more about the power of writing.  Here you can find more detail about the above ideas, a retelling of a Gestalt writing therapy workshop, and ideas from transactional letter writing.  Byron Katie’s “The Work” shows yet another similar method for fixing problem ideas and looking at them from different perspectives until you realise they are not real but only thoughts that have come to trouble you.  Whatever works for you is good.  Pick up a pen and try it today.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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