Writing is more than just an avenue of expression for me. It’s a healing journey. Writing leaves me more whole. It helps me integrate mind, body, and soul, and empowers me to share my gifts with the world.
Next time you procrastinate writing — whether it be a letter to a friend, a reflection in your journal, a blog post for your business, or that book you’ve been planning for ages — know the process of writing might just be the thing that helps you heal your shit. Here are nine ways writing functions as a healing practice.
1. It provides structure for difficult-to-express feelings.
During a particularly difficult time with my husband, I started writing to him. It gave me the time and space to think about what I wanted to say and put it in a feeling framework, so that my communication was more of an intentional response rather than an emotional reaction. I felt more comfortable writing and could express myself better, which in turn prompted him to do the same.
2. It memorializes significant events.
Whenever I or my family experience an important event, I find some quiet time with my journal. Whether a happy or sad occasion, it’s important to express and process the emotions.
It’s a safe place to say things you didn’t have a chance to in the moment, or sort through feelings that come up in the aftermath. I work through the energy and the emotions produced by a given event faster than if I don’t write about it.
3. It promotes awareness.
This may be the most important healing element of writing. You’re decluttering your mind and soul, clearing out a space by sending thoughts, feelings and emotions onto the page. This leaves room for the flow of productive, creative energy.
4. It integrates the right and left brain.
When you write down the stories of your past, especially of past trauma or conflict, you begin to integrate left and right brain functions. This is called narrative therapy, and has a transformative effect.
5. It’s a passion.
If writing is the thing you love to do, then spending time doing what you love will leave you feeling worthy, inspired, and motivated to do more of those things.
6. It sheds light on truths you weren’t looking even for.
I’ve found that when I write about the big questions, the ones that really matter to me, I end up learning things about myself that I would never have anticipated. To see what I mean, try giving yourself a writing prompt related to a question you ponder often, and just see what happens.
7. It creates a dialogue of self-acceptance.
When I write, I’m brave. I can be my true, wild, sexy, unapologetic, and enthusiastic self. My best writing happens when I don’t hold back. When you’ve spent much of your life in fear, the release of being yourself is healing, liberating, and empowering. Let writing be how you are brave and where you become fiercely alive.
8. You learn to separate your true self from your inner critic.
Through awareness and reflection, we learn to recognize our inner critic as separate from ourselves, and begin to evaluate the truth of our thoughts, rather than just accepting them because they are. The shift from unconscious to conscious facilitates transformation.
9. It makes your intuition much clearer.
The more consistently you express your true feelings, the quieter the noise drowning them out will become. When you embrace stillness and learn to identify the inner critic, what you truly believe becomes much easier to hear, to honor, to act on.
If you want to jump-start your regular writing practice, you can sign up for this free Warrior Writing 28 Day Challenge. Starting July 1, I’ll send participants a simple, five-minute prompt once a day for four weeks, to help get you in the habit of writing daily.