Who knew that writing could be a free therapy?

When it comes to emotional health, you have to come to the right side of the brain. Left-brain uses logic, rationalization, and reasoning. Right-brain, on the other hand, stores emotions, feelings, abstractness, and intuition. These are all the things that are often suppressed in today’s “scientific” and “evidence-based” education system and society. Logic, strategy, reasoning, and rationalization make up 80% of the school education. On the other hand, the right-brain activities (like gym, music, art, etc.) make up less than 20% of the total education system. We are taught to suppress our emotions and creativity. No wonder why depression, anxiety, and suicide are on the rise. Even as adults, we don’t engage our right brain much. How often do we play a sport for fun, draw, paint, play music, sing, dance, or write (creatively)? Today I want to talk about the benefits of writing for emotional health.

When I start working with my clients, the first thing I assign them is to purchase a good journal. Journaling is very simple technique and often overlooked, but a great therapeutic technique that serves in many folds. Following are some of the creative ways you can enhance emotional health by writing:

Purposeful Structured Journaling: In this technique you pick an area of your life that you want to enhance. For example your relationships, health, business, kids, particular fears, etc. Then you set to write about that topic daily. You can write about your feelings, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, fears, experiences, reactions, judgments, etc. This technique will help you to bring more awareness into the area you chose to write about. Accessing your raw thoughts, feelings, fears, beliefs, and judgments about that topic can give you immense amount of insights into that area of your life. This is a great set of data you can use for self-improvement and growth.

Free Writing: This technique accesses hidden unconscious emotions that are hard to access otherwise. Free writing is a technique in which person writes continuously for a set period of time (e.g. 30 mins) without any regard to grammar, topic, spelling, etc. You just pick up a pen and paper, and start writing. Writing fast helps to eliminate the need to judge or criticize your thoughts or emotions. This is not to be read by anybody. You may choose to read it after you’re done with the technique, but the heart of the technique is in accessing the unconscious mind. It accesses raw thoughts and emotions, and can be very therapeutic. You would be surprise what you find within you-good and bad. Remaining non-judgmental is essential as well.

Creative Writing: This technique will allow you to express your inner-self or your true gifts. Creative writing is any form of writing that crosses the boundaries of normal professional, academic, journalistic, or technical writing. This type of writing includes poetry, fiction writing, narratives, story telling-short or long, play writing, book writing, etc. This technique not only expresses your true deep emotions but also gets you in touch with your deeper inner Self or Spirit. This type of writing is not only therapeutic but could also be very spiritual and mystic in nature.

Accessing your deep emotions can be difficult. Hopefully these techniques can help you get started especially if you like to write. I prescribe journaling and reflective questions to my clients all the time and most of them report great results from them. These techniques are particularly helpful for depression and anxiety. Give these techniques a try!