They say the pen is more powerful than the sword and for good reason. Seeing our deepest thoughts and feelings on the page can be an extremely rewarding thing, allowing us to express ourselves in a safe space and process our experiences. Here, psychotherapist Bhavna explores the powerful practice of diary and how you can use it as well.
Although not a recent phenomenon, the diary has become a fast-growing staple of those who are curious about exploring their inner life. As a psychotherapist, one of the most powerful techniques I offer clients is a diary invitation. Many people may be anxious to write at first – some may have had traumatic writing-related experiences, for example people with dyslexia, or those from an older generation who were severely punished for being left-handed.
The meaning is absolutely understandable, however, the incredible power of using the written word to travel to the inner sanctuary of your being is worth it. And, if that’s not working for you, you’ve lost nothing. But if it works, you have access to one of the most powerful self-help techniques created, for free! Writing as a form of therapy has transformed the lives of hundreds of my clients and me.
A site is like a wise and non-judgmental companion, a witness to your most frightening and private thoughts. Let’s see why the act of writing (with a real pen or pencil, not a keyboard) can produce wonderful results.
Our memories are stored in our brain and body as chemical signatures. As you type, an incredible chemical reaction occurs in your brain. Those memories, made up of thoughts and feelings, are turned into words in real time. Words that express, process and translate what you feel and think. Sentences that describe, explore, challenge, accept, amaze, and question what is going on in your head. Words connect us to our soul, enabling us to communicate our joys, sorrows, disappointments, triumphs, needs, dreams, and desires. Everything consists of words!
Now, imagine taking control of this powerful organ, the brain, and begin to understand how it works in your life. To learn her secrets through the written word and to see her come to life on the page before you; this is the magic of the diary.
My clients are offered many different forms of writing as part of our work. Writing for a few minutes each day allows us to connect with ourselves. Write down everything that comes to mind: are you worried, angry, sad, happy or excited? Write. As you do this, you will begin to see patterns appear in relation to your thinking style. Are you generally positive, half full glasses? You can then take the patterns – for example feeling anxious – and write about it, asking yourself questions such as: Why do I feel anxious? Where does it come from? When did it start? Why is it present in my life? Is it your ‘stuff’? If not, whose is it and what keeps it there?
Remember, if the process becomes extraordinary, you can simply lower the pen and get some fresh air. The therapeutic diary will bring sadness, along with difficult emotions, including anger, grief, and regret. This is absolutely natural, and enables us to face and process these feelings, which is the whole point of the diary.
The therapeutic benefits of writing have been repeatedly proven in numerous studies, including those by Dr. James Pennebaker and his team, who significantly reduced the impact of trauma and PTSD on subjects who had found other useless interventions. But it is important to remember that if you experience trauma or PTSD, you should seek to find an experienced and qualified therapist to support you.
For some, writing may be the only way to express something they could not reveal to another person. What is important is that it is being released. For example, writing unsolicited letters can be very powerful in telling someone how you feel about them in an unsafe way, especially if he or she is dead. My clients like this exercise because it allows them to turn blue air, have a good joke on a boss, parent, spouse, sister or sister or friend and then destroy it. It’s a safe way to express how you feel without being fired or in trouble.
Journalism also allows us to be creative and play! When was the last time you sent or received a genuine handwritten letter? How amazing did it feel? Why not get a nice station and surprise your loved ones, or yourself, with a letter? I have letters from my best friend and pen pals dating back to 1989 and I love them! Forget the message, try writing a letter.
The act of writing is about taking control of our lives. It allows us to understand what kind of things we allow in our minds and how we can create good and healthy boundaries for ourselves and others. It also helps us organize our minds, sharpen our senses and understand how we think! As we write, we become sharper, more present, and more aware of what is happening around us. We become more aware of who we are and our place in the world. Journalism allows you to meet and get to know your true self.
If you need support for your mental health, visit the counseling center to contact a professional.