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Writing for Wellbeing

 

Discover the health benefits of expressing yourself with pen and paper.

Words are magic. We cannot imagine our world, or our lives, or how to relate, without the use of language. Spoken word, written word – we language ourselves into being. – Kate Thompson, MA, CJT (existential counsellor, journal therapist and writer)

Expressive writing—writing for the purpose of putting your own thoughts and feelings into words—can be a powerful way to enhance overall wellbeing. As its name suggests, expressive writing focuses on expressing and describing your emotional experiences. This method doesn’t worry itself with the rules of writing, grammar, and spelling. By letting go of the inflexible limits of writing that we are usually restricted to, you may find that you are able to tap into a more authentic inner voice and a deeper connection with yourself and your emotions.

Words make us real to ourselves: we are seen through words, understood or misunderstood. We take our place through language. We weave a narrative of belonging and differentiation within our family, school, community, religion, ethnicity, gender, and society. We encode experiences through language: we link experiences through story. We become the sources of our stories. – Kate Thompson, MA, CJT (existential counsellor, journal therapist and writer)

Research done in the last three decades has demonstrated links between engaging in expressive writing and improved physical, mental, and emotional health. Improved immune functioning, better sleep, more effective coping, enhanced recovery processes after traumatic experiences are only a few of the physical and therapeutic benefits that researchers have credited to expressive writing interventions. Expressive writing can be a helpful way to process emotions, and cope with stressors we come upon every day.

With the guidance of a facilitator, participants can engage with their own creative expression, and with that of others, and in doing so find opportunities to voice their truth, affirm their strengths, and find new ways of coping with challenges.

This ability to live in the interactive matrix of our own self-storytelling is a hugely powerful neurological, psychological, and spiritual function. We make up what it means, and then over time we discover if this story is helpful or harmful to our ongoing journey of selfhood and relationship. We are not only the source of our stories – we are the sorcerers of our stories. We have the power to change the story to heal our ways forward. It is this power that is taught and explored through expressive writing. – Kate Thompson, MA, CJT (existential counsellor, journal therapist and writer)

Expressive writing is a versatile form of therapy and can be done in pairs (one-on-one) or in small groups. This method of emotional expression has been first described in a scientific paper in 1986, and since then several hundred expressive writing experiments have been conducted.

What, though, if writing weren’t such a luxury? What if writing were a simple, significant, yet necessary way to achieve spiritual, emotional, and psychic wholeness? To synthesise thought and feeling, to understand how feeling relates to events in our lives and vice versa? What if writing were as important and as basic a function and as significant to maintaining and promoting our psychic and physical wellness as, say, exercise, healthful food, pure water, clean air, rest and repose, and some soul-satisfying practice? – Louise DeSalvo (Teacher of English at Hunter College, and author of Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives)

Writing positively affects the immune system and can be a powerful tool in the treatment of trauma, mood disorder, psychological problems, PTSD, and chronic disease. If daily writing can be transformed into a habit, it has been scientifically proven to heal old emotional wounds, make one feel a greater sense of well-being, decrease stress, improve relationships, and boost the immune system.

If interested to sign up for this project, get in touch with us via email, hello@sunderlandliteracyaid.co.uk

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