Why we need to write

10 ways how writing helps us.

I read a post by my dear friend, Vinitha Dileep, on Morning Pages a while ago. It’s a concept introduced by Julia Cameron in her best selling book, ‘The Artist’s Way’–have you read it?

The Artist's Way

A very dear friend gifted me this book on my birthday back in June 2013. Then, I wasn’t a lot into reading self-help books, or non-fiction, so I was quite apprehensive about going through this particular tome.

But, something changed in me when I began reading Julia’s words. It felt like this book was written especially for me!

Six years ago, I wasn’t into blogging. Heck, I wasn’t into anything back then except looking after my home, my pet and my mom-in-law!

Having quit my job, I was experiencing the “An empty mind is a devil’s workshop.” syndrome. Plus, there was the endless stress that gnawed at me right from the moment I woke up to the time I went to sleep at night.

Stress, when not dealt with, creates havoc on your entire system. Not just your mental health, but also your physical and emotional health take a massive beating. And, if there’s no one you can turn to for help, then, trust me, you will soon find yourself in an endless abyss, with no soul to get you out.

So, it was during that time that The Artist’s Way landed in my lap and, what can I say, reading its pages felt like the Universe was trying to help me!

Writing the MORNING PAGES:

I began writing the morning pages in earnest. Not because I wished to become a writer or a blogger. I do remember writing a couple of short essays for my friend (who gifted me this book) and receiving much praise from her and some encouraging words of “You are a gifted writer, Shilp!” too.

But, it was only after I began writing the morning pages that I realized two things:

  • I got a clearer look at my writing, and
  • a better way to deal with my stress, first thing in the morning.

So, today, I would like to share how writing helped me deal with my stress.

10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF WRITING:

How many of you maintained a diary as a kid? I remember I did, back when I was in college. I shared everything with my diary–the good stuff, the bad stuff, and the ugly stuff. I also remember how I hid it from prying eyes.

But, what I most remember is, feeling relaxed after sharing my thoughts with my diary.

I quit writing in my diary after some years, and it was only after receiving The Artist’s Way as a birthday gift that I began writing in my diary, once again.

Writing the morning pages was like sharing my deepest secrets with my closest friend–one who would never disclose those secrets to another soul.

Dealing with mental illness is not easy. And, being the caregiver of not one but two mental illness patients is…well, it wrung the life out of me.

The stress is an everyday companion who refuses to leave you alone. And, it is this stress that I needed to deal with before it broke me completely.

And, so I began writing and relieving myself of the stress that clung to me like a cloak all day.

  1. Writing helped me pour out my feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, and guilt. I couldn’t share those with anyone as freely as I shared those in my morning pages.
  2. Writing about those emotions was a release I needed then because bottling up these emotions is injurious to your health! Simple as that.
  3. Your anger can kill you, and your fear can leave you anxious, panic-stricken. And, being the caregiver of two mental illness patients and one canine, I couldn’t afford to take my health for granted.
  4. Writing gave me a clear perspective on everything. It helped me realize how I was wasting mental energy on issues that were not in my control. It helped me understand the issues that needed my attention and also those that I needed to ignore.
  5. Not having a close friend whom I could meet every day, I needed someone I could talk to. And, it was writing that gave me that friend. My diary became my best friend who would never judge me or shut me up for chewing her brains with my problems. My diary would listen to me patiently, be the strong shoulder I needed to lean on.
  6. Writing the morning pages basically helped me to understand Life, understand the problems I was facing and how nothing about it all was in my control, so I might as well learn to just control my emotions!
  7. Today, writing helps me not only share my fears about certain personal matters but also draw up goals to follow.
  8. Listing monthly goals at the beginning of each month gives me a clear picture of what I need to work on.
  9. Writing helps me realize how far I have come from where I started a few years back, especially where my blogging/writing is concerned. But, most importantly, it makes me realize how I have changed/am changing as a person. In that, it helps me work on myself to be a better version of myself!
  10. And, finally, writing helps me keep track of my successes, and my achievements, however minuscule they may be. For, we do need to remember our triumphs, our wins, to encourage us when there’s no one else to do it for us! it’s what keeps us going, isn’t it?

Writing is, therefore, an exercise I would urge you to take up to be better able to deal with your stress and express your innermost emotions, freely. Whether you are dealing with chronic stress or acute stress.

Actually, irrespective of how much stress you are dealing with, or how good you are at managing your stress, write.

Irrespective of your profession or your passion; whether you are a creative person, or not, just write.

For yourself.

We deal with stress every day. And, finding a release for that stress is an important part of self-care.

Stress stored in our mind has great potential, you know? It could ruin our peace, wreak havoc on our mental wellbeing, affect our relationships with others and with ourselves and affect our everyday life in a way we might not even imagine.

Of course, you can share your stress with your close friends/family or even your therapist. But, for those times when you have no one to share your stress with, write.

Just pick up a pen and a paper (I believe in writing the old-fashioned way when doing this particular kind of writing) and pour your heart out.

Do not stop to think about what you ought to write. Just let it all out, however ugly it might be.

Do not read what you write, if you are writing your morning pages. Read if after a few days, but not immediately.

And, finally, do not…I repeat, do not judge yourself for what you write. Remember, you are a human, blessed with the ability to think all sorts of stuff about life, about people, about anything and everything.

So, writing fearlessly, writing wholeheartedly, writing non-judgementally is what will help you not only unload your stress, but also understand yourself better.

So, write!

Take care.

Love,

SHILPA…

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF WRITING

 

22 thoughts on “10 ways how writing helps us.”

  1. I took my inspiration from Vinitha and started writing my Morning pages as well. A few days writing 3 pages did not feel enough whereas on others I found myself with nothing to write after just half a page, so I write my plan for that day in the form of a rough timetable to fill in 1 page. Every day I write and then tear those pages and throw them away.
    I started writing my diary in 9th Std. where I used to write whatever came in mind without any kind of filter. There was no stress in those days other than understanding Trignometry and Biology so the diary wasn’t a means to relieve stress. Infact, safeguarding that diary from the clutches of brother became a huge stress issue. He would spend his every waking moment in the house searching for my diary. One day. having had enough of the stress, I glued each and every page of that diary (I had finished a quarter of it). It was quite a strenuous task yet the only way of saving myself from getting exposed. I never wrote a diary or a journal after that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I can understand!
      I too used to hide my diary from my family, and often tore off the pages after a while to stay safe 😛
      Now, the diary I write, has this message written on the front page that it’s a private diary and not meant for public, so stay away! And, it is well-hidden, too!
      Thank you for sharing so much, Anu! ❤

      Like

    1. Yes. The idea behind morning pages is to just write what comes to the mind. Just let it all flow and feel the difference in your mood!
      Thank you for sharing your experience! 🙂

      Like

  2. Thank you for the mention, Shilpa. You are so sweet. ❤️
    Of course, writing is a fabulous therapy that we all need in our lives. I had a diary as far back I can remember. My dad worked in a bank and he used to get complimentary diaries from different businesses and from his bank too. So I always used to make it a point to “steal” one from him every year. 🙂 Back then I didn’t have anything to write other than tracing some doodles or noting down some proverbs which I had learned as part of our curriculum. All silly stuff. But I liked having this diary to carry around. I think I started to pour my heart out in my diary when I began college. There were lots to share too. Keeping it away from my mom’s prying eyes was the most difficult task ever, I actually burned one such diary because I couldn’t keep it safe anymore. Trust me, even today if my mom finds my journal she will try to read it. But now as I am writing in English it’s safe. 🙂 My husband sometimes tries to get hold of my journal, just so he can annoy me. He knows I will divorce him if he violates my privacy. 😀
    Morning pages definitely give a lot of clarity to the burdened minds. I always end my day by writing in my gratitude journal. That also helps me great deal. Some days when I find nothing worth writing in my gratitude journal, I force myself to write at least five or more things to write about than my usual three things. Writing ✍️ is the best friend, no doubt. And it helped me to find friends like you. ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! OMG! You sure know how to threaten hubby to keep your diary safe!
      But, I can understand…respecting people’s privacy is something I learned over the years. I think from dad? Don’t remember. But, it’s something one needs to follow and hope others follow, too. After all who would want their private stuff to become fodder for gossip?

      My diary and my morning pages helped me back then. Now, I write as and when I feel. Especially when the stress becomes too much to take.

      Thanks for sharing your story, Vini! ❤

      Like

  3. I’ve kept diaries off and on since I was a child and an aunt gave me one of those little books with a lock on it. I had a High School writing teacher who checked to see that we were writing daily without reading individual entries. I still think that was a brilliant approach. I write Morning pages sometimes, not every morning, and I write them with a word processor when I write them, I like the greater privacy and search capability.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww…the little book with the lock sounds like every girl’s dream! How safe our secret thoughts will remain in that book! 🙂

      For me, too, writing on my private blog is the best way to unload my stress. This way, I get to share what I want and I know it’s all safe fro prying eyes. 🙂

      Thank you for visiting, Inga! 🙂

      Like

  4. Can you believe it that I never maintained a diary or a journal when I was young. The idea of writing morning pages does seem quite interesting. As far as writing is concerned, I write every single day. I love to write. But I would love to try some free writing. Let’s see.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so touched by this post. Indeed taking care of someone with mental disorder can take a toll on one’s health too. But kudos to you for staying strong. Taking care of people when they need the most is such a selfless act.
    Writing is therapeutic. I was always encouraged to write since childhood. My journals from early days contains all my embarrassing accounts… I used to pour all my emotions before. But now I mostly write about good things. Things that would make me happy when I read them years later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! That does sound like a good idea, Raj. Writing about good things that make you happy when you read it later.
      For me, though, it was writing the bad stuff that helped me a lot. I do write about good things, too. And, once I write it, it feels SO good to see some positivity during sad moments. 🙂

      Like

  6. It’s so wonderful to note that you are writing Morning Pages and it has helped you in so many ways. I am just hopping over from Vinitha’s post. I first came to know about this self care exercise through Corinne. The Artist’s Way is lying untouched in my cupboard for a while now. You girls have inspired me and I am hoping to explore this free writing exercise soon! Thanks for the nudge, Shilpa.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree 100% with points number 1,2,4,5,6,7,and 8. They helped me exactly that way. My therapist had asked me to write morning papers. I found so much mental peace after writing them. However, now due to a busy schedule, I have stopped writing them. After reading both your and Vinitha’s post I feel that maybe I should start again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our busy routines often come in the way, right? It pains when they come in the way of things we enjoy. I too write when I feel worried or bothered or burdened about life and stuff. Often, my morning pages are weekly or monthly pages. But, once I write in my diary, I get a better look at what’s bothering me and if I should be giving it that much attention and importance.
      Thank you for sharing, B! ❤

      Like

  8. Great post Shilpa😊 I agree writing helps one in so many ways. I used to write a journal whenever I was overwhelmed or wanted to vent out my feelings. Now it is more about writing fiction. But, your post makes me think I should wrote down my feelings too. Thank you and keep writing and inspiring ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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