Writing as a Therapy: The Power of the Pen and How it Keeps me Sane

Writing as therapy

Image by Undrey/shutterstock

As you might have guessed from my recent post about crying in public, I’m a firm believer in letting it all hang out. Emotions, that is. In fact, the older I get, the less I care about holding back. Whilst I get that not everyone is comfortable bawling their eyes out in public, I don’t think that keeping it all in is totally healthy either.

As a society, we’re so obsessed with keeping it all together. Let’s be honest, the question “how are you?” tends to trigger a reflex response of “fine, thanks” (or something along those lines). And quite frankly, most people would be horrified if we actually went off on one about our deepest thoughts and feelings. Sure, there’s a time and a place; I’m not saying we all need to walk around with our hearts on our sleeves, or make every conversation a therapy session. But this is why it’s so important to have some kind of outlet.

Writing this blog has taught me many things – random things, technical things, even personal things. I have also learned that writing is seriously therapeutic. Who knew that the mere process of organising thoughts into words could be so cathartic? This doesn’t just go for blogging, either. If you think about it, all kinds of writing can be therapeutic. Whether it’s venting to your bestie via text or drafting an angry email that you never actually send, I’d be willing to bet that everyone has benefited from writing therapy at some point or other.

So what is it that makes writing so therapeutic? For me at least, putting pen to paper (or hands to keyboard) helps me to make sense of my thoughts. It forces me to acknowledge and process them, and eventually turn them into a coherent blogpost. But ultimately, it’s not about the finished product – it’s actually about the process. Writing our thoughts down helps us to express things we wouldn’t feel comfortable saying out loud. It can be a “safe place” for our most absurd, ridiculous and downright petty thoughts.

The best thing about writing as a means of therapy? It’s free and accessible. You don’t have to be the next Jane Austen or be a grammar boffin. Just pick up a pen or open a Word doc and write whatever comes into your head. Maybe you’ll be inspired to turn your thoughts into a full-on blog. Maybe you’ll rip it up and throw it away as soon as you’ve finished. The point is, writing is just like dancing or screaming or crying. There’s not always a point to it, but it’s a wonderful release.

So next time you feel furious, anxious, or sad, try picking up a pen. It won’t solve all your problems, but I guarantee you’ll feel a hell of a lot better.


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