Writing for Wellness
Writing is good for you! That’s how I’d sum up over three decades of research on expressive writing. Researchers have found that writing about difficult and traumatic events—about both what happened and how you feel about what happened—results in better physical and mental health. And the benefits go beyond health. People who have written about emotional topics report experiencing better grades, finding jobs more quickly, and being absent from work less often compared to those who did not write about emotional topics. There is something about getting one’s pain into the written word that helps the body and mind feel better.
For years, I’ve used writing in my work with clients as an activity they can do between sessions. Many of them have benefited from these tailored writing exercises. I’ve also led Writing for Wellness workshops for students, community members, and people who have had or are going through the experience of cancer.
What my clients and workshop participants have experienced mirrors what the research has found: writing helps people who are suffering. Writing has also been one of the major lifelines in my own life during challenging times.
How Does Writing Help?
Writing allows you to move through your suffering by first acknowledging its existence and then processing it. It provides you with a way to release your painful emotions and dark thoughts rather than ruminating on them continuously. But to heal, you’ll need to do more than simply recall your story; you’ll need to reconstruct your story. You can do this by using specific writing prompts that assist you in searching for and finding meaning in your suffering—the lessons to be learned, the benefits to be experienced, and the resolution necessary to move forward. Through writing you can explore other perspectives, identities, and pathways to wholeness that will facilitate greater ease as you move through the challenging times in life.
Write Yourself to Wellness with Me
If you’d like to experience the power of writing for your own well-being, I have written a book just for you. It’s called Night Bloomers: 12 Principles for Writing Your Way Through the Dark and Thriving in Adversity. This book is for people who are going through or have gone through any type of loss, adversity, or grief. In the easy to read chapters based on my life and the lives of my clients, I walk you through the 12 principles of what I call “blooming in the dark.” Writing is the primary tool we use to facilitate your healing and transformation.
You have a few options for working me on this material.
You are welcome to purchase the book and work through the material and writing prompts on your own.
You can work with me in a coaching capacity. We would meet (virtually or by phone) to discuss your individual progress and challenges as you work through the 12 blooming principles in the book.
If you have a group of people who would like to experience a writing for wellness workshop, I can come to you in-person or virtually to lead a half or full day writing workshop based on the material in Night Bloomers.
Regardless of what option you choose, as you write, my hope is that you too will see the research on the benefits of writing come alive in your life.
Writing Tips for Night Bloomers
Here are some writing tips to keep in mind as you use your Night Bloomer’s Journal:
Date your entries. It’s nice to look back and see how far you’ve come.
Grammar and spelling do not matter. These exercises are not designed to improve your technical writing skills; they’re designed for healing and transformation.
There is no right or wrong way to write. So, try not to judge, censor, or correct your journaling.
Be as honest as possible. You only cheat yourself if you hold back the full truth.
Write quickly and keep your hand moving. Write through the negative thoughts and emotions that come up.
Write deeply. What you get out of writing will depend on how much you put into it.
Keep your journal private and write for your eyes only. This will help you be as honest as possible.
When you feel stuck, remember to tell your story just one word at a time.
We’re going to do more than just write about your pain. A lot more. Allow yourself to play and have fun.