Journaling is often cited as one of the most helpful methods of improving mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce anxiety, stress and fight off depression.
But what about those of us who have been journaling for some time now and fancy kicking things up a notch? Or even those of us who have given journaling a go but find the process difficult for whatever reason?
The truth is, it's not for everyone.
What's often lauded as a simple and effective solution might not always be simple and effective for everyone.
That's why recently we've moved our journaling up to the next level and put our hand to some creative writing - with some huge benefits.
Creative writing might sound like an impossible task for many. If the thoughts of writing stories or poems terrifies you, worry not. In a meditative capacity, creative writing can be as simple as capturing down your thoughts - exactly as you would when journaling - and adding a new type of format to the words. This might be characters and storylines, or it could be some kind of rhythm.
If you usually capture your thoughts as bullet points, try writing them in prose, or a diary format. If you usually write in longer sentences, try giving your thoughts a more concise voice. If you feel more confident, you might want to try introducing characters, structure, locations... who knows, you may end up a writer of stories before long!
Approaching your thoughts in a new, creative way can have some great benefits, and we captured a few of our favourites below:
- Imagination: Adding some creativity to your thoughts can boost your imaginative skills - try thinking of places and characters that can make your ideas flourish on paper.
- Empathy: By thinking of situations from another person (or character's) perspective, this can also be a huge aid to our empathetic skills.
- Clarification of thought: The addition of empathy to our thought patterns can, in turn, help to clarify the processes behind our own thoughts and behaviours.
- Bigger vocabulary: Thinking of a situation from someone else's perspective? What words would they use to describe what's going on? Chances are, they might be very different from the words you'd use. By using new voices, creative writing can help grow your vocabulary.
- Self-expression: Even sticking to your own perspective, and the words you'd use in a situation, creative writing can help not only clarify but affirm your own thoughts and feelings - and bolster your confidence in self-expression as a result.
- Public or private?: Some people feel pressured to find an audience when creative writing, as though they have to show it off and acquire a fanbase as quickly as possible. One of the most liberating things about any creative work is the realisation that you can keep it entirely to yourself. This certainly helps with work you might be more self-conscious of... and in turn, this can help produce the best results!
If you give creative writing a go as a result of these tips, let us know how you get on. We'd love to know!