May is Mental Health month, and is also the month that I started my blog 2 years ago, so I wanted to tell you a bit about the journey I have had writing over the past 2 years, and how it impacted my mental health.
I have recently spent some time researching and writing about the impact that writing can have on our mental health, based on doing different forms of writing such as journalling, and freewriting, and even sharing our personal stories and experiences with others. I became interested in this when I realized the impact that writing had on my own life and mental health. What I found was that there was a lot of research done into how these different forms of writing improve our overall well being - physical and emotional. I was not surprised at this. I have found that through writing my blog, writing my book and also journaling around specific topics, I have been able to make peace with some of the past and daily challenges that I have, and begin to map out my feelings around larger issues and even write more about them and share them. Writing has improved my emotional well-being, my confidence, my ability to write and share my story, and allowed me to better express how I feel - so it has also improved my communication.
One type of writing that has been found to be particularly impactful on emotional (and physical) well-being is expressive writing. This type of writing involves writing about experiences which have negatively impacted you, and about how you felt in those situations and how this impacted you. This is designed to be personal writing - somewhat like journalling - so that you can write freely and honestly - without judgement from yourself (or fear of judgement from others) because you do not need to share it unless you want to. And this is important. In order for the writing to have the impact on your emotional and mental health, you need to be able to be honest and open with yourself about how those events made you feel and how they affected you.
The ability to openly express these things can really shift how we feel about them if we are able to do this consistently over a few days.
The example I can give of this is the series I wrote when I started this blog - 39 lessons I learned before I turned 40. I chose to look back into my life, and see what lessons I learned over the years, and I even looked at experiences that seemed negative at the time and saw that with hindsight, some of those things had a positive long term impact and allowed me to be the person I am today. They allowed me to change my perspective, to change my direction. Sometimes things going wrong put me in the right place for a better experience. Some heartbreaks allowed me to deepen other relationships I had, or make new ones. Sometimes I had rejections and I am now utterly relieved when I saw how things played out. It allows me to have a different perspective now when things that appear to be negative happen to me. And although I will admit - I still get upset or angry and have meltdowns, at least now I have a way to process it that can allow me to recover more quickly. Writing has given me an outlet to work through my feelings.
I love the impact that writing has made on my life. I remember after I wrote my book - I felt so amazing, so confident and powerful. There are many people who asked me how I found the courage to write my book, or even to post my blog posts, and the truth is - the courage came from and through the process of writing. When I reached that milestone, I wanted everyone to have that feeling,
I would love you to join me during the first week of June to start to experience the transformative power of writing in my 5 day challenge - rewrite your week! Many of us have daily stressors that seem to pile one on top of the other. These can come from our everyday and every week activities - work, relationships and what I like to call our extra curricular activities - whether they are voluntary or fun. These are the things that I find can shift my mood - and if I do not have a way to process our emotions, then another day comes and lands on top of it. So I am hoping you will join me for this challenge. During that week, we will be exploring expressive writing about our daily and weekly stressors, and seeing the effect that having this practice can have on our mood and well-being.
Click here to join the mailing list for this course, and I will send you the details!
I look forward to joining you in this challenge, and I send you big love from a small island.