are a few of the tips garnered from experts at the recent Wellness and Writing
Connections Conference in Atlanta on ways to use writing for wellbeing.
1. If you suffer from an illness or simply want
to learn more about what’s going on at a physical level, have a dialogue with
your body. Ask it questions and let it
answer. It may be helpful to use the
non-dominant hand (left if you’re right handed or vice versa) for the body’s
2. Use third person narrative form instead of
first person. Instead of “I felt…” try,
3. Write a letter to someone you’re angry with
and tell them off, advises Julie Davey who works with cancer patients using
guided writing prompts. Don’t send the
letter, but use it to let off steam in a healthy way. Telling someone off, even if you don’t send
it, will help you to understand and set boundaries.
4. Write a thank you letter to someone you
appreciate. Often we don’t take time to
thank the people who are there when we need them. Send this letter if you feel inspired to, or
better yet, read it out loud to the receiver.
5. Use metaphor to understand. Make a list of physical symptoms–not a
diagnosis–but the physical experience of the problem. After making the list
ask yourself, “What in my life is giving me a… Fill in the blank. “What is giving me a headache?” “What is giving me a pain in the neck?” Sometimes a metaphorical “pain in the neck”
can point to how one reacts to a situation or people.
6. When you’re in a bad place mentally and
emotionally, make efforts to move into a better one through writing. Sometimes repeating a simple word like “love”
or “thank you” over and over in your journal can produce profound effects.
Debra Moffitt-Leslie, October 2009, www.debramoffitt.com