Writing as a form of healing: why using pen and paper can boost your personal growth
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Søren Kierkegaard
When was the last time you truly acknowledged your feelings and wrote about them? When was the last time you used pen and paper to write your thoughts and memories? In this day of digital innovations and online interactions, is there any reason to write things down on paper anymore? Scientific researches proved that writing by hand has more benefits than typing on digital interfaces. One of these benefits includes writing as a form of expressive healing.
Commonly known as journal therapy, expressive writing is when individuals attempt to make sense of their past experiences—stress, trauma, pain—raw emotions that never had proper closure. Although our past has a lot to do with shaping the kind of person we are today, how we manage and perceive these experiences can also influence the way we approach life in general.
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. (William Wordsworth)
For some, letting go of the past can be a difficult thing to do. One of the healthy ways to manage this part of life is by writing down your story using pen and paper. Handwriting helps you remember your past experiences more vividly and while this may make you feel uneasy, it will help you realize that you have managed these tough experiences better than you give yourself credit for.
Studies show that writing by hand increases your neural activity, which can be compared to meditating. It encourages you to stay focused while starting to feel more relaxed as you go through this writing journey. More importantly, the mere act of using your hand in writing releases creativity in your brain which is not easily accessed by other means.
Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted. (Jules Renard)
We are living in the social media era. Nowadays, we effortlessly post online without any real reason, except to keep up with the times, or the “Kardashians”, we forget why sharing our thoughts in the first place is so important – to express ourselves. We drown ourselves so easily with instant gratification brought by likes and comments from other people that we forget how it feels like to have mindful and personal conversations with ourselves. Journal therapy brings us back to our WHY, and grounds us in our past experiences.
In addition to personal and emotional benefits, journal therapy can also improve your physical wellbeing. Researchers suggest that writing about your raw emotions and past experiences can boost your immune system. Studies conducted with patients who have asthma, arthritis, or physical wounds have revealed that these patients heal more quickly when they journal about their thoughts and feelings.
Turn your wounds into wisdom. (Oprah Winfrey)
People who have experienced great pain or trauma tend to live their present life in a continuous cycle of process and emotion. Break that cycle by writing them down. Here are few ways to get you started:
- Me-time is writing time: When you feel like you need a break from your everyday routine, consider journaling as a me-time activity. Dedicate 15 minutes to write your heart out. Don’t edit. The point of this activity is to access that raw part of yourself. A lovely author by the name of Julia Camera, calls this activity “Morning Pages” in her book The Artist’s Way. Morning Pages are pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” Whatever comes to mind, write it down - it’s like meditation.
- Find the perfect spot: Look for a quiet space in your house where you find it more relaxing and where you are most comfortable—away from chores, away from work, away from distractions.
- Choose a journal just for you: Journal therapy is for you and you alone. You will have personal conversations with yourself, so try not to mix it up with your work responsibilities, family or other commitments. This writing platform is just for you, design and personalize your journal the way you want it. My Health Journals offers a “My Story” section, where it prompts you to provide detailed information about your past experiences, your family history, your likes and dislikes, and more! My Health Journals also has a section where you can write your story freely in the Notes pages.
Happy Journaling! xx
Article by: Joan Barredo, Digital Marketing Specialist