Often we think of the writing process of one that requires us to be calm and collected. We have our steaming hot coffee, some classical music playing in the background, the sun is streaming in beautifully and our creative juices are flowing.
But what happens when that is the polar opposite of our reality? When everything is going wrong, and our heart is beating out of our chest and we just want to run away and hide?
You guessed it…that is exactly when you should be writing. You can write about what you are feeling or you can write about something completely different. It doesn’t matter. The writing process itself will help you. Counterintuitive? Perhaps. But it is one of the best things you can do for stress relief. Here is why:
1. Writing Gives You Time to Relax:
Often stress is the result of too many thoughts and feelings without enough time to process them. The writing process takes time. We can’t multi-task and write. So just the process of stopping whatever else we are doing, having to focus to think of what we want to write, and focusing on our message already relaxes us both physically and mentally which naturally reduces the stress we had been feeling.2. Think More – Feel Less:
Stress is almost always emotional, not intellectual. We are not thinking about how stressed we are, we are feeling it. But writing requires us to engage our minds once again. And often when we think about what we are actually feeling, it makes it more manageable. We start to come up with solutions and cut it down to size which makes it easier to deal with.
3. Put it into Words:
Writing forces us to choose the words for our feelings. It requires us to take something overwhelming and put it into finite words to capture and relate that to another. The process of choosing the right words and having to decide what specifically depicts something that was amorphous prior is a huge step in stress reduction.4. Change the Narrative:
Sometimes when we see what we are thinking, we realize we don’t like how it looks or sounds, and can then decide to change it. We may not have realized how negative or pessimistic we were being until we saw it written down on paper.
So bottom line, when you don’t think you have any words for your overwhelming feelings, that is the best time to stop what you are doing and sit down and write. By the time you are done, you will feel so much better!