Making Amends / Asking Forgiveness
Writing can be a critical step in an individual’s recovery from physical illness, mental trauma or substance abuse. The first aspect of therapeutic writing is having the individual identify and articulate their own feelings: fear, anger, disappointment, anxiety, despair, confusion, and frustration are all common and valid feelings a person experiences. Writing about all these feelings can assist someone in healing and committing to the necessary treatment plan or steps on the road to recovery.
The second aspect of therapeutic writing is related to conflict resolution and strengthening past, current and future relationships. A commonly used technique in recovery from alcohol or substance abuse is to have the individual ask forgiveness or make amends for wrongs they have done in the past. Writing is a useful vehicle in tackling this challenge. Sometimes a person has been shut out because they have hurt someone badly. They may be able to communicate via a letter, or in some cases, the receiver does not accept the letter, but the individual has at least gone through the process of taking responsibility for their actions and asking for forgiveness on paper. The psychological benefits build from there as the person tackles living a better life in the future.
Creative Outlet (journaling / poetry)
A popular form of personal writing is journaling. Generally not meant for other people’s eyes, journals produce benefits that are almost 100% psychological. The act of journaling counteracts daily stress and is a useful tool to learn more about yourself and to clarify your life’s goals. Disorganized in your thinking? Not sure how you feel? Regular journal entries help you to work through everything that is going on in your life and those around you. As you put these thoughts to paper, you are working through these problems in your mind and subtly figuring out how to solve them.
Journaling also has a lighter side and can be used for the sake of creativity alone. Activities such as journal and poetry writing have been shown to improve mental function and stimulate creative thinking for people of all ages, children through senior adults. The process of writing can enable any individual to become a better communicator at home and in the workplace, for all of the reasons above and more. Creativity begets new ideas and new ways of doing things. It can be producing a piece of art for the pleasure of others. With writing, anything is possible.
Think of writing as nourishment for your brain. While writing cannot possibly solve all of your problems tomorrow, with some discipline and a regular schedule, gradually you will begin to see improvements in some areas of your life such as mood and mental health. Chances are your physical health will improve as well. As you make decisions, define priorities, strengthen relationships, and generate new ideas, the transformation you will achieve may surprise you.
Read Part 1