When Aman asked Shanaya, what would be the one thing she would bring back from the 90’s, her answer was ‘letters’. Upon asking her why so she said, “Letters are so expressive. When I wrote letters to my friends and family while I was away from them, I could realize there is so much to tell each of them. I could tell them what made me miss them, what all I was doing etc. Sure, today because of WhatsApp we all are in touch continuously, but have you ever written a long paragraph to someone, just out of nowhere, telling them how much they mean to you, or how much you miss them?” And so, both of them started reminiscing the old days….
A lot of people who come in for counseling sessions and are asked to start journaling their thoughts often have the immediate reaction of ‘Okay, that is going to be difficult’. But if we actually look back,writing has been with us since our childhood, hasn’t it? From writing alphabets, to answers, to essays, to emails and now to typing out texts in WhatsApp.
Writing helps us be in touch with our thoughts. Imagine our mind as a train, our thoughts are the passengers in a train and writing is a station. Like the passengers get down at their station, thoughts can be unloaded on the writing platform. One does not necessarily have to be a writer to pen down their thoughts. Describing your thoughts, all good and bad, is all the expressing work you need to do while writing.
Of course, writing is an amazing way to let your thoughts out, calm yourself or go down to the memory lane. But there are different ways in which you can be in touch with yourself and write your feelings down.
- Free writing: Have you found yourself in the middle of a busy day with tons of tasks to do and not knowing where to start from or what to do? It can get quite overpowering, no? At such times, when there are racing thoughts in your mind and you cannot seem to quiet them down try free writing. Here, take a journal or a single piece of paper and just start writing whatever goes on in your mind. Do not worry about the language, the grammar or the punctuation. Think of it as a co-ordination between your thoughts and your hands. Like your actual thoughts are coming out on paper with help of your hand. Here, you need to quiet the analytical mind and go on writing freely. If it seems difficult, then close your eyes and go on writing. This can prove to be an excellent way to express your anger too. You can even tear the paper up once you are done writing so that you won’t go back and re-read the things that you want to let go of!
- The Unsent letter: Imagine you just received a letter from your loved one, you tore it open and start reading all the wonderful things that they have written. Can you see a smile popping up on your face, a wave of happiness going through you and you becoming excited all of a sudden while you read all the kind things that the person has written for you? You want to experience this for yourself? Go grab a paper and a pen and start writing a love letter to yourself. It might sound funny initially, but when was the last time you appreciated yourself, were kind to yourself even while others were pointing the flaws in you, saw the beauty in your thoughts and behavior? If it was a long time, then it is time for you to tell yourself how much you love yourself! And don’t wrap up the letter in hurry, describe everything in detail. If you think it’ll be hard, then think of it as writing to a third person and then let the writing flow!
- Trip down the memory lane: Writing doesn’t always have to be descriptive. It can be short and impactful if it is about a beautiful memory. In this form of writing activity, you can take small strips of paper and write down anything good that has happened to you and store it in a jar. Whenever you feel blue, you can open up the chits and read about it. You do not have to limit yourself while writing about good things. You can write down the line that your friend said while admiring you, or about your Instagram post that crossed the last post’s likes, or even a quote that you read somewhere and which made you happy!
- Fear journal: Don’t worry, this activity isn’t as negative as it sounds. In the above writing forms, we saw how to express ourselves, and fear is again an important emotion. By writing down your fears, who might be able to understand them properly and then you can take a step to overcome it or simply accept it. While writing down your fears, you can use prompts which will give more understanding to your fearful thoughts. Here are a few prompts which might help you-
- What is the cause of my fear?
- What is my earliest memory of this fear?
- What happens to me when I think about this fear?
- What would be the worst-case scenario of this fear comes out to be true?
- Is my fear rational or is it because of my over-thinking?
These are few of many forms of expressing yourself through writing. Writing can be fun and cathartic in many ways. As stated earlier, you do not need be a writer by profession to express your feelings through writing. If you are intrigued to know more about this beautiful expression of writing, then join us for our upcoming webinar- ‘Expression as a form of art’. Registration link-https://waitt.in/register-now/