I came across an article through one of the pen people at FPN-P’s Facebook group. I found it quite interesting, although most of us in the FP collecting community already know this to be true. The article: How to Deal with Anxiety, Tragedy or Heartache.
Writing has always been very therapeutic for me, and this article gives some insight on why it could be effective for many people.
A lot of people who are going through some stressful and emotionally difficult situations may find comfort in expressing their thoughts to people who are “good listeners”, like sympathetic family, friends or practitioners like therapists and counselors. However, there are people who find talking with other people a bit difficult. People can judge you, treat you differently when they hear about your struggles. You can’t predict how they will react, and what they will say. I’m not saying that talking to people isn’t important, I believe that it is. I just think that there are times when you also need to confront your emotions by yourself, and expressive writing can help you with that.
Expressive writing can help you slow down, untangle your convoluted thoughts and emotions, and examine them closely. It can help unburden your mind and as you exert more effort in putting your thoughts into words, your emotions become less abstract and more tangible.
When my mother died, I avoided writing. I have always kept a journal since I was a little girl, and so not being able to write is something new to me. I could not confront my emotions about my mother’s death, and I had so much difficulty talking about it with people in exactly the way I need to talk about it. I could not verbalize my anger and my grief. When I finally picked up my pen and started writing, I calmed down, I was able to process my grief, I adjusted better.
I took expressive writing to a deeper level and started writing my thoughts about my daily devotions. Not just note-taking (though I did that too), but journal entries that expounded on what I learned and how I felt about what I read. Soon I was publishing some of those thoughts on my blog when I had the time.
Writing has been so comforting for me. Sometimes, when it’s turning into one of those days and one of those days is turning into one of those weeks, I just write. Even without any idea on why I’m feeling so withdrawn and sad, writing comforts me. Often I would come to an understanding of my sadness, and I would always feel a lot lighter. A lot less burdened. Even just writing my favorite Psalms can open up my mind and my heart to better expression. What’s even more helpful is when I personalize these verses and make them my own.
Overall, I’m just glad that my mom encouraged me to keep journals when I was very young. Sometimes I think back and realize how she would often teach me how to cope with stress in very simple ways, knowing that I was extremely introverted. I still have one of the earliest notebooks she gave me. 🙂