Interpretation, wonder, and reaction. These three elements are responsible for all art that exists in the world today. Together, they create this familiar feeling of sincere nexus people sometimes hold over a song, a book, or even a painting.
We don’t have to understand what an author or artist wanted to say through the brush strokes or verbose metaphors within their work. We solely have to feel them…Interpret, wonder, and react to them. Once we do, we are ready to write those characteristics down, creating our very own pool of wonder others can respond to. A sort of an inception spider web, if you will.
That’s how life works.
Everything is happening all the time, with no clear or visible purpose. Good things are just around the corner, and bad things are just above it…Depending on where you’re standing and observing the happening from. Big fireworks are breathtaking from afar, but terrifying for those closer to the noise. And since perspective is everything we have, purpose can only be found from within…Ourselves, our philosophers or, exceptionally good pieces of art.
Whatever the case, it’s important to keep your eyes open enough to translate what’s happening around you, that’s one of the first journaling techniques you’ll need. You don’t even have to be traditionally creative to write “creatively”. The point of it doesn’t lie in conceiving culture-defining art or pushing boundaries. It lies in creating a dull Sunday into a merry one, as you start to visualize why writing is important. Plus, you sometimes don’t even know exactly how you feel until you Bukowski your way through the center of it. Words may seem a bit more blurry in your head than they do on a piece of paper.
Chapter 1: The Art of Acceptance
Coming face to face with some harsher truths in our lives is extremely challenging. No one likes to feel like they’re under a magnifying glass. In many cases, we like to hide some of our lesser-known, “faulty” traits from other people. But in all honesty, are we even capable of saying these things aloud? To ourselves? If the answer is no, try writing it down…Creatively. Allow the paper to be your mirror and guide you through journaling prompts for mental health.
“I am too lazy for the position I want. No more denial, no more half-truths. I am objectively not enough and it’s time to change that.”
Today you have a choice to either close your journal, with nothing written in it. Or, stop deceiving yourself by writing a letter to yourself. As a concerned academic would to a scholar who is just a little stuck. Furthermore, try reading what you wrote the next day or even week. You’ll be surprised at just how much our feelings can shift in a short period of time.
A routine-like practice like that one will help you organize whatever is going on in your life, ever so lightly. Dissecting your own emotions and thoughts gives you their:
- Place of Origin;
- The biggest negative factor of influence;
- The antidote, eventually;
Allow yourself to learn a thing or two about what’s hurting you instead of letting it hurt obliviously.
Chapter 2: The Aftermath
My, my…We are finally here. You’ve accepted what’s to come and what’s to go, and it sucks doesn’t it? Well, just like in our favorite novels and other books of admiration, it’s always the chapter right after the tragedy that’s the most memorable one.
Think about it. In every book, the closer the protagonist is to the “bad guys”, the closer he gets to the chapter of true revelation. That’s what we call the aftermath. Feel the pain, let it in and let it hurt. Cry and scream and curse those who’ve wronged you and write it all down to the very last drop of emotion, as this chapter is made to be felt and remembered.
On a psychological level, writing about trauma is not only recommended but greatly beneficial. After practising this every day for 10-15 minutes a day, you will relieve your body stress, as well as PTSD and chronic stress disorders.
Writing can, sometimes, be even more reliable than talking, as most victims of traumatic experiences have a hard time articulating their words with another person, regardless of their good intentions. Because when it all passes, as everything eventually does, the harmony you’ll have in your possession is worth all the chaos. We truly would never know peace without war, both in books and in real life.
Chapter 3: The Revival
Every protagonist has to reach this step in their meditative journaling journey. This chapter is the readers’ favorite one, as it characterizes the story while defining the main character into an eternal remembrance. And just like that, you’ll have a moment of recognition on why you had to go through the hard times that you did. Things will be a little more clear now, and your writing, just as the pressure of your pen will be less aggressive. You can even visibly see the benefits of writing by hand as it changes over time and through chapters.
To make things a bit more factual, taking a stressful or traumatic situation and reliving it in a safe space, though words can lessen the “horrors” currently connected to that specific hardship. In other words, you are taking control of the fear and trauma by overcoming this sense of victimhood. The repetitiveness of this practice will in due time grant you the ability to reduce the intensity of the trauma, resulting in a much healthier state of mind.
This chapter is all about pretty handwriting and beautiful sentences. And as the storm of the previous chapter quiets down, you are ready to start building everything the tide has pulled into the deep ocean waters, left only for the archaeologists and treasure hunters of the writing world to re-discover.
And one day when you’re old enough to remember and mature enough to not let it hurt you anymore, you’ll come back to this chapter just to see how the beginning of your new life actually began. No need to emphasize why writing is good for you anymore.
Chapter 4: A Leap Of Fate
When we lose trust in people, we often approach everyone else with great caution. After a while, we tend to realize not everyone is out to get us, so we let go and allow some to get to know us on a more intimate level. However, when we lose trust in life and living, it’s a little harder to give that a second chance.
Even after the revival chapter, old wounds and scars never fully trust the universe and what it has in store for us. And since we’re all kids of the universe, we lose trust in ourselves, as well as our abilities and possibilities. On a healthier note, giving these traumatic experiences meaning is one way of reducing the damage that has been done to your psyche.
In a study from 1986, it was reported that “those who wrote about more severe traumas report fewer physical symptoms afterwards, compared with persons who described lower-severity traumas”. Furthermore, our psychological ability to not only convey factual events on paper but emotions as well is what eventually leads us to overall relief. So, in this chapter, we want the words that we write to help us take another, beautifully blind leap of faith. Nothing religious or spiritual if you don’t want it to be. It’s just about hope.
I hope the future is a lot brighter than the past has been. I hope I wake up feeling more beautiful tomorrow. I hope I get through the hardships life has in store for me. I hope my heartache is small and laughter common. And if not, I hope I’d rather have lived optimistically ignorant than always in fear of the unknown.”
Or something along those lines.
Chapter 5: The Art of Letting Go
Believe it or not, letting go conceptually is extremely hard. Even when the thing we’re letting go of was hurting us in some way. Psychologist Jennifer White writes how toxic situations and people are hard to let go of because they sometimes benefit us. Certainly, not in value, but in short-term bursts of serotonin, because we probably don’t know any better…
This can even be applied for work and uni! The benefits of journal writing for students are off the charts thanks to this new-age and sadly very common Millenial pink student depression.
It all boils down to that one ancient Facebook post stating you can’t really expect a bird who has spent her entire life in a cage to not think flying is insane. But in this chapter, we should encourage ourselves to let go of that cage…Destroy it even. And although that pain and cage bars have made a nice and cozy home in our head for themselves it’s definitely time to change landlords…
Write down a list of everything that has surfaced and identified itself as toxic since the beginning of these chapters, and start cutting them out of the picture one by one! That’s the best sort of mental health journaling!
Closing The Chapter
If you’ve made it thus far, you most likely feel like a weight has been lifted off of your chest. It’s no secret how helpful journaling can be, not to mention the benefits of creative writing. All you need to do is get over the fear of a simple pen and paper, as well as kiss your procrastination goodbye. Close this chapter with the utmost maturity and grace, as you get ready to start writing the next one.