Inspirational words from Dawlish’s psychotherapist and life coach, Jody Merelle.
More and more these days, I meet people eager to find practical ways to positively affect their sense of well-being.
Conversations about the importance of taking care of our mental health have increased over the past few years and that is of course a good thing. There is not as much stigma around this issue as there used to be.
However, as a company, we remain more reactive than proactive. In my opinion, the more we can do to improve our sense of well-being when we are still well, the better for all of us.
One of the simplest tools that has been shown to have a positive effect on our emotional well-being is writing. Exactly what or how you write is up to you, but the act of writing in general has many benefits.
Some will find it helpful to write lists, you might enjoy keeping a diary or diary or even writing a weird story or poem.
Writing can be a good tool for exploring your own thoughts and feelings, and you can also write letters or postcards to someone else. There is still no absolute theory on the usefulness of writing, but many suggestions have been made.
First, when you’re confused or anxious about something, it can all feel a bit like spaghetti in your head.
A recent client of mine described it well when she said she felt like all her thoughts were “tangled up”. Writing things down can help provide a sense of clarity. It can also be extremely helpful in increasing your sense of self-understanding, which in itself has been shown to help find a positive sense of well-being.
Taking your inner thoughts and externalizing them is also a way to better access our hopes, goals, and dreams. Research has consistently shown that writing things down makes them much more likely to happen.
Another study found that writing down a list of goals at the end of the day for the day or week ahead could contribute to a better night’s sleep.
It’s probably because our subconscious mind is better able to relax when it gets the message that it doesn’t need to keep thinking about everything it needs to sort out in the days ahead. Writing can also be cathartic in expressing your feelings. Putting them down on paper can be extremely helpful in getting a sense of perspective, sorting out your priorities, and getting the mind to think about how to move forward.
Because it requires focus, writing can also help keep you focused and in the moment. The very act of writing itself can be extremely helpful in allowing us to feel less confused and slow down.
Certain writing exercises have also been shown to have positive effects on our mental health.
In an exercise, people are asked to write down all the positive emotions they have experienced in the past 48 hours.
Our memories inevitably fade over time, and we don’t always consciously choose the (often negative) spin our mind puts on past events.
This exercise can be a good reminder that we frequently experience a wide range of positive emotions. Acknowledging this and remembering the activities that elicit these positive emotions in us can be a great way to remind ourselves to do these things more often.
In a world now dominated by e-mails, social networks and SMS, writing a card or a physical letter is today also a real sign of kindness and empathy towards others.
It’s something that can be picked up and read over and over again and it will stick around when a text message is long gone.
A card received from our neighbor this week when our dog unfortunately had to be put down meant a lot to us and left us feeling cared for in an otherwise very sad week.
Having recently sorted through several boxes of my late parents’ possessions, their letters and cards gave me a window into much of their history in a way that a random text message never would.
There is no right or wrong way to write. Write in a way that feels natural and comfortable to you. You can write about what you like and when you feel like it – but if writing isn’t something you do often, I highly recommend giving it a try. You could find a whole new way to express yourself, find some clarity, and positively affect your sense of well-being.