Lisa Shouldice MA, RP, CCP, Psychotherapist

Individual, Couple & Family Counselling / Psychotherapy


Writing For Your Mental Health


            I often recommend journal writing to my clients in between sessions.  When you are having intense feelings or going through a time of transformation, undergoing lots of changes, writing or journalling can be very helpful. Especially if you find yourself feeling preoccupied about something in your life.

           

            The process of journalling about emotional topics engages both sides of the brain and helps to process in a different way than other tools you may use.  It can create a sense of peace over time on a particular topic.  It can also give you a wonderful project to re-read and look back on later.  This can help you to notice patterns in your life as well as see how far you have come, several years after writing your journal entries. 

 

Try this:


  • Sit in a quiet, private space with the intention of writing for 30-60 minutes.
  • Take a moment to look inward and decide what topic has some emotional weight and/or has been on your mind. This is great if you feel emotional, on the verge tears, or irritable and are not sure why.  If you have been distressed about something or are grieving someone, this may be obvious and you are simply taking space to process it. This is your time. 
  • Write in a stream of consciousness style trying not to worry about spelling, grammar etc. Try to simply let it flow. You may find it is awkward at first, but it will loosen up.

 

            You may be surprised at what you say.  I find this is an important way to take time to process if you are going through something but need to get on with your life. Ex: you are going through a divorce and need to work and focus on your children. Rather than trying to stuff down your feelings or ignore them, try finding a space to write about these intense feelings. It will make getting through your day easier.

What you do with this piece of writing after you complete it is about individual preference.  You may wish to keep a journal.  Some people believe burning it is a form of cleansing.  You could bury it in a nearby park and while it decays and becomes one with the earth, it is healed and released.  I have also found letting the current in a river take it away or even the wind can create a feeling of release.  There is no wrong way.  Choose your element.  See what works for you.