5 Ways To Use Writing To Care For Your Mental Health

  1. Morning pages. These are vital. Julia Cameron wrote a book called the Artist’s Way in which she writes about all the ways to bring out your inner creativity. She advises starting every day with three hand written, unedited pages. For me, these are a must. I wake up, I get out my notebook and I start blabbing away about everything and anything. There is no rhythm, punctuation is an afterthought, and I skip and jump around. I don’t re read the pages or share them with anyone, but instead think of them as a natural cleansing that rids my head of all the junky thoughts so that I can gain clarity and intention for the purpose of my day.
  2. Gratitude List. With everything going right in my life I somehow find a way to focus on what’s wrong. I could rattle off 100 things that didn’t go as planned, work out, or disappointed me with ease. But, if I interrupt all that jargon with a list of things I’m grateful for I find that it helps me refocus my attention and my energy shifts. Sometimes I list very specific things, like my warm sweater that I put on in the mornings when I do my morning pages. Other times, I remind myself what a privilege it is to have clean water and then I ponder all the ways that water adds value to my life.
  3. Write the Note/Text/Email (but don’t send it). When I’m pissed off or angry I want to talk about it. I want to tell the people/person/company/ exactly what it is that triggered me and how they can do better. I want them to know exactly how wrong they are while explaining how right I am. I know this is childish and I’m working on peace but sometimes things still eat at me. I have a notes section both on my computer and on my phone where I jot off notes of how I would like to reply but I DO NOT send it. Sometimes I just want my side of the story heard and once I “take it to the page,” I feel better. It’s less about writing to that person so that I hurt them and more about blowing off steam. When I write it down, it gets out of my body and I can relieve some stress. Then, it’s there and I can always send it if I feel like it later. (Spoiler alert-I have never felt like it).
  4. Write a letter to yourself. This is a good old therapy trick that I learned many years ago. Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love and respect. It’s hard, right?!?! I’m much more likely to point out my flaws, put myself down, and only focus on what’s going wrong. When I get into a negative spiral I like to write myself a letter. If I’ve made a mistake, I point it out with love and focus on forgiveness. If I feel like I’m failing I write to myself about all the ways I’ve succeeded. Honestly, this is hard. It feels fake and icky and sometimes I don’t believe the things that I say. But I’m a firm believer that what you think and believe about yourself creates your life and so I want to keep those things positive. A little love letter is a great reminder.
  5. Write the book. I get tons of questions on how to write a book. Ironically, most of those questions are not related to writing. They are more like how do you find time, where do you go, who is your editor, how did you find a publisher, what software did you use, etc. To which I reply-is your book already written? To which most reply-well, no. If you’ve got a story inside you pushing to come out you must start writing. Get out a notebook or open a word document and let the words flow. There is no point in asking how to get a book published when you have no book. Just start writing. The process itself will guide you and lead the way. Writing my book was one of the most healing things I’ve ever done. Even if a single person never read it, it was a must do for my journey. I know many authors who will say the same. So just start writing!

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Samantha Perkins

Samantha Perkins

Author of Alive AF-One Anxious Mom’s Journey to Becoming Alcohol Free. Founder of Alive AF blog. www.spaliveaf.com