Copyright © 2021 Traysi Benjamin-Matthew
This is the first in a series of poems that explores why I write. Reason #1 is the healing aspect of “expressive writing,” and obviously, my chosen format is poetry. However, if you want to try something different; “expressive writing” can be writing diaries, journals, songs and thought pieces.
In the new world of Covid-19 there has been increased conversations about mental health, wellbeing and wellness. For example, the signs to an unhappy mental health, the different things that impact mental health and the many wellness activities you can do to ensure a healthy and happy mental health.
“Expressive writing = happy mental health and wellbeing”
What’s on your heart and mind?
“What’s on your heart and mind?” is the subtitle of John F Evans article titled Expressive Writing. He describes the rhythms of expressive writing, the connections with wellness and challenges readers to ‘become their own researcher,’ trying out his tips and advice, seeing if it works.
But that question, “what’s on your heart and mind?” Is the foundation of expressive writing. It is the starting point where the tumbling of words from your heart and mind become written (or typed) and ignites the healing process. It is the outpouring of soul that helps the transformation from an unhappy mental health to a happy (or happier) one. And like most things in life, practise makes things (writing) easier.
“So, what is on your heart and mind?”
From very early on in my writing career (as a young teen, lol), I had some awareness of the links between poetry writing, emotional healing and a happy mental health. Of course, I wouldn’t have used those words to describe it, it wasn’t talked about like it is now. I just knew writing made me feel better. It helped make sense of my world and I just found it easier to explain my thoughts and emotions with a pen or pencil.
The strong urge
As an adult and during my most rock bottom places, I translated my emotions to paper or computer screen. Often prayerfully scribbling down (or typing) a difficult period of my life, after feeling a strong urge just to get it out of me!
For me personally, this “strong urge” was usually connected with a previous “God time moment” (as I am a Christian), where I had a verbal/ thoughtful outpouring of what was on my heart and mind. Followed by a still moment wrapped in God’s warmth.
It’s unimportant if you have just a “strong urge” or something else that helps you to write like another wellness activity or strong motivation. Just write something! Everyone has to start somewhere.
“I must write, I need to write, I am going to get it out of me!”
However, the “strong urge” might not be enough for some or they just might never experience the “strong urge.” Don’t worry because a regular expressive writing routine will get you there. It doesn’t matter if it is daily or weekly, in the morning or before bed, poetry or journaling. You have to do what feels right for you, be consistent and take baby steps. Just get through the week and the month, despite the never-ending assortment of emotions and distractions. Then before you know it, your “expressive writing routine” is a daily habit like brushing your teeth and sleeping.
“Start writing and healing.”