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I think this year has opened a lot of people’s eyes to the importance of our mental health. From stress to loneliness to anxiety, I mean, 2020 has had it all. You know by now that I love talking about mental well-being on my blog and different ways to cope and manage. As someone with almost a decade worth of experience, well, I’ve tried it all.
PSA before we continue, although it should be obvious by now but I’m not a medical professional in any way. If you’re really struggling with your mental health, you should always go to your GP or a therapist. Please don’t rely on information from bloggers on the internet. We clear? Ok, good.
I think experimenting with new coping techniques in order to manage your own mental health is great. For me, Yoga helps my mental health massively. As does reading, gaming, de-cluttering and exercise. But it has taken me years to establish those coping tools. And I’m always open to trying something new if I find myself struggling with my current tools.
- Restorative Yoga At Home: 5 Yoga Practices For Stress Relief
- A Simple Guide To De-Cluttering For Beginners
- Best Books of 2020 So Far: 6 Book Recommendations
So when thinking of the topic of using writing as a way to heal inner pain, there’s one incredible site I want to direct you to – Healing Fairy Tales. Healing Fairy Tales has published creative stories from over 50 woman, who took their pain and negative emotions and turned them into something beautiful. Stories.
As a lifelong book lover and avid reader, I fully believe that books and stories can change the world. They can change you. They can help you learn. They can help you heal. And if books can do that, surly writing stories can do that too? If there’s so much magic in other people’s books and stories, then you have magic within you too. So…
Who are Healing Fairy Tales?
“We planted the Healing Fairy Tale Garden to inspire the creation and sharing of emotionally-healing tales, poems and illustrations. These tales feature courageous characters that move from self-defeating and hurtful thoughts to empowering feelings and positive insights.
We all get hurt by life. Our dream is to compile tales from around the world that act as a salve for our wounds, unfolding new insights and connecting us to empowering emotions. Stories can give us a glimpse of a pathway towards self-compassion, inner peace and love.
All the stories we feature within our garden have a transformative arc. The arc start out with negative feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and self-hatred (among others) and transitions to feelings of self-compassion, understanding, and love.
This is because we know healing first entails acknowledging our wounds, negative thoughts and emotions. Acceptance of our inner wilderness enables one to reseed those dark places with loving, compassionate thoughts that grow to empower one to lead a life full of self-love, connection and joy. We all deserve to be happy.”
How creative writing can help you heal:
Creative writing in whatever form you choose, whether that’s short stories, poetry or something else can be so beneficial in so many ways. In fact writing and story-telling in general is so beneficial, whether you’re reading it or writing it. Here are some ways creative writing can and might help you heal:
It’s an outlet: I believe we all need an outlet for our mental well-being. Whether you suffer from a mental illness or not, having that thing to do that you LOVE and that helps you feel like yourself (even in the toughest of times) is crucial. It doesn’t really matter what it is. Writing, painting, candlestick making – whatever.
It helps take your mind off of things: Creative writing, where you’re immersed in descriptions and details can really help you get out of your own head for a while. Which is really helpful if you’re struggling with your mental health. This is particularly relevant when it comes to writing stories.
It channels your negative or nervous energy into something: Creative writing can help channel that negative energy into something that isn’t going to harm you. Instead of taking part in harmful coping techniques, creative writing is a kind and gentle way to help you heal.
It can help you de-stress: Writing can be very relaxing. Especially if you MAKE it relaxing with your writing space. So writing can really help you de-stress which is something we all need when we’re going through hard times.
It can help you process: And finally (although there are probably hundreds more reasons), it can help you process what you’re going through and how you’re feeling. If you can’t speak to a therapist or need to spend some time alone, then this is a great reason why you should start creative writing.
6 ways to write to help you heal (both creative + non-creative):
- Short stories
- Longer pieces
- Poetry (I actually dabble in poetry at times!)
- Illustrations with captions (like a graphic novel)
- Writing letters
- Journaling (perhaps using journal prompts)
Tips for getting started with creative writing for healing:
Don’t think too hard at first: It can be hard to just let ourselves go and write. We often think too much and too hard and end up stunting our creativity. Which is really what we DON’T want when we’re trying to write creatively for our mental health. So my first and top tip would be to stop thinking too hard. See what comes to you. Allow it to come. And flow.
Find a safe and quiet place: The next point is an important one because if you’re anything like me, then you NEED that alone time and that quiet space to function. If I’m around people and noise for too long, I get really agitated and stressed. So when it comes to your creative writing, try and find a quiet and safe space.
Turn off and get rid of distractions: And following on from that, try and switch off and avoid as many distractions as you can. Turning off your phone or any notifications is easy enough but also try and avoid writing at a time of day where you know people are going to be in and out of the house or likely to want to talk to you.
Don’t judge yourself: Allow whatever to come up to just come up. Don’t judge yourself for ANYTHING. This is your healing work – nobody else’s. So if some thoughts and feelings and ideas come up that shock you, roll with it. If you re-read your writing and its absolute garbage, roll with it. It’s fine.
Have snacks: When the mood takes you, you might find yourself writing for a rather long time without a break. When you’re in flow, you don’t want to stop yourself or disrupt that flow. So a bit of a practical tip here but have a drink and a snack with you so you don’t have to get up to go to the kitchen when you get hungry!
Remember that you don’t have to show anyone: And following on from the no judgment point, I want you to remember that you don’t HAVE to show anyone what you’re writing. Of course if you want to you can, you can submit a story to Healing Fairy Tales if you like! But if you don’t want to that’s 100% okay too.
If you’ve not tried creative writing for healing yet, I hope this post will encourage you to at least give it a try and see if you receive the benefits from creative writing. If you already write creatively as a means of coping and stress relief, then I would love to hear your stories and experiences! Please do check out Healing Fairy Tales for more information and more amazing stories!