There is hope.
In the wake of the current COVID-19 crisis, it seems clear that the future may be a great struggle, not for the economy, but our mental health.
A lot has been said about the global lockdown’s effect on the economy. Still, little has been said about the impending mental health crisis we’re all likely going to face in the coming months. An upcoming mental health crisis is inevitable when millions of people are asked to socially isolate themselves, depriving them of exercise, nutrition and easy access to healthcare.
But there is hope! A fantastic way of tackling excessive thoughts and anxious thinking is through the age-old practice of writing. Therapeutic writing prompts through journaling and morning pages are excellent and proven exercises in overcoming mental health difficulties.
What’s more, these practices are free, quick and straightforward to do. They also have the potential to lead to some illuminating discoveries about your mental processes and habits.
The tools to succeed.
Julia Cameron first popularised Morning pages in her book The Artists Way. The influential practice allows us to rid ourselves of all the clutter in our heads so that we can make way for more constructive and creative thinking.
Therapeutic writing prompts and journaling, offer a considerable amount of benefits for your mental wellbeing too. When we establish a daily practice to express our thoughts and process our feelings, over time, we can pinpoint our troublesome thoughts with increasing clarity and awareness.
Journaling has been used for generations, culminating in some critical world-changing contemplations, such as from Marcus Aurelius, last of the Five Good Emperors. He famously ruled in times of unprecedented peace and prosperity. The results of his private reflective writing, are still with us today, thousands of years later.
So, are you ready to get started?
Below are the essential steps needed to establish a daily writing expressive habit, via morning pages or journaling.
- Pick a time of day to write (this will help solidify it into a daily recurring habit).
- Do it longhand for extra benefits, connecting you more intimately to your thoughts.
- Reflect on your day, feelings, failures and successes.
- And…just write!
Remember, it is all about learning not to censor yourself. By shutting down your inner critic temporarily in this new exercise, we open our potential up as writers, thinkers and most of all people.
If you find yourself stuck for things to write about, here are a few prompts to get you going. Though try to keep in mind that the topic is not always necessary. Unloading and tapping into what is going on in your mind is critical here. Get it out of your head and onto paper.
- Today my victories were:
- On a scale of 1-10, my mental health is at a … because
- I am thankful for….
- This week I am looking forward to these things …
- My challenges today were:
For me, Daily writing has helped make me a calmer person, who sleeps better, plans more thoroughly, and is more creative.
Some other benefits for you might include:
- Tracking unconscious mental problems that come up frequently, allowing us to be more aware of our thoughts and patterns and ways of thinking.
- A cathartic space and practice to express ourselves purely and undiluted.
- Creativity inspired routine to experiment and play with ideas and words.
- The self-authoring program follows very much in the same vein as the concept of free association expression writing. From the website: “People who spend time writing carefully about themselves become happier, less anxious and depressed and physically healthier…thinking about where you came from, who you are and where you are going helps you chart a simpler and more rewarding path through life.”
- A great and insightful short video ‘How to Use Writing to Sharpen Your Thinking’ from Tim Ferris outlines the benefits of writing. He discusses why learning to write is the top essential skill in his entire career and how writing can indicate flaws in our thinking.
- The book ‘Opening Up by Writing It Down: How Expressive Writing Improves Health and Eases Emotional Pain’ is a fantastic resource for exploring the potentials of this practice further and has introduced tens of thousands of readers to expressive writing.
- Join 485,887 other writers in the best online morning pages writing community: 750words.com
It’s about writing, and tapping into your brain:
Keep up the momentum of writing. Write. Every. Day.
Keep in mind the benefits and fun you can have from this private and unfiltered habit. Cater it to your own needs and learn about yourself in the process.
Creativity and a freer mind is available to us all, and we all deserve it and can attain it through the pure majesty of words.