There is something deeply cathartic about getting words, thoughts, and ideas out of your head and onto the page or screen.
Whatever form that takes — journaling, nonfiction, fiction, storytelling, or what-have-you — writing can be massively empowering.
If you’re not a writer — forcing it in most instances won’t help. If you are, however, then like me you probably have an inherent drive and NEED to write.
It is seldom a chore for me to write. I love coming up with and sharing ideas, worlds of my own creation, helpful tips, or just getting the various and sundry crap out of my head and onto the page or screen so I can look at it with more clarity.
Writing has always been a way for me to check in with my mental health. Which, as such, makes it a form of therapy.
Even when I am creating fantasy or sci-fi peoples, places, and things, it invokes thought, feeling, action, and intent — conscious awareness or mindfulness. Hence, it can be extremely therapeutic.
What’s more — if I share these things I write — they can impact other people. Hopefully, they have a positive, helpful impact.
Building worlds real and imagined
The tagline I created for myself as a brand is writer/editor/voice-artist/world-builder. The first three are super-obvious descriptions of the work I do. World-builder, however, comes without boundaries or precise definition.
If you read my nonfiction works, you know that I write a lot about conscious reality creation. I believe that when all is said and done consciousness creates reality.
Some people take this to mean that they can use THEIR consciousness to build not just their reality — but ALL reality. But that’s not how it works. Conscious reality creation is individual and singular. That’s because I haven’t any power over anyone other than myself.
When I write about these things, part of the intent is to help make the world a better place. But I do that by sharing my experiences and practices. You get to choose if you care to make use of them — or not.
When I create fictional worlds and tell stories within them — that, too, is part of conscious reality creation. Because I am opening a portal to an escape that might inspire you to imagine these things, too.
Imagination has increasingly gotten waylaid by facts, figures, and hyper-focus on “reality”. Thus, schools cut the arts, music, and focus less on writing for creativity and more on writing for grammar and punctuation.
Without imagination, however, you limit growth, creativity, and change. Imagination is how we got electricity in every home, instantaneous global communications, and all the other conveniences of modern life we take for granted.
This is why building your personal reality and creating a fictional world are equally empowering. Both can also be an outstanding form of therapy.
Get it out of your head
Because of the stigmas attached to mental health matters — people frequently internalize what they are going through.
Let’s face it — life is complicated. You will have good days and bad, ups and downs, and outside influences far beyond your control will impact how you think and feel. At least, until you recognize that and work actively to alter it.
Writing is therapy because it gets things out of your head and onto a page or screen. Whether or not you share it — it’s still powerful and empowering.
For example — when I am writing a scene in fiction and my character comes to a revelation of some sort — it feels like I had the revelation. Their gain is my gain.
And that makes a lot of sense — since each character and situation I create is a part of ME.
It never ceases to amaze me how good I feel after I have sat down to write. Because both fiction and nonfiction are creative.
Even if I am rehashing something I did before — new impressions get made, and new pathways are found. That can be just as powerful as any formal therapy when it comes to balancing my inner being.
Writing in any form can also bridge the gaps between the subconscious and the conscious mind. Even when I put fiction out there, I often find it helps me take a closer look at my subconscious beliefs, habits, and values.
And let’s face it — the majority of what you write is an aspect of you to your core.
Therapy comes in many forms
I think it’s important to acknowledge this. Because so many people poo-poo formal therapy — but still need therapy in some form or other.
It is, far as I know, impossible to go through life with ZERO trauma. Things can and will happen way, way outside of our control. Friends and loved ones pass, homes are lost and found, and random happenstances like long lines, car accidents, stubbing toes, and the like occur all the time. And all outside of YOUR control.
These things impact your balance and how you center yourself. When you don’t make choices or take actions to recenter and rebalance — you experience all sorts of unwanted things.
This includes anxiety, depression, doubt, sadness, uncertainty, and even physical illnesses. When this happens, one form of therapy or another may be necessary to rebalance and recenter.
Formal or informal, therapy happens. Writing — like what I share in either fiction or nonfiction — is a form of therapy. Because it opens channels between your head, heart, and soul to get the idea and notion from within to without.
What’s more, there is a certain subtlety to writing as therapy that other forms lack. Meditation, taking meds, seeing a psychologist and the like are not subtle. Writing, however, often is.
How many authors have added nuance and meaning deep beneath the words you read? Despite my college professor’s assertion that ALL writing has hidden meaning — it’s frequently, but not always, true.
Writing can be therapy not just for the writer — but the reader, too.
It’s often unintentional therapy
Finally — it doesn’t NEED to be intentional. You don’t need to write with the intent of it being therapeutic. For me, I find that often is just IS — which, in many respects, makes it that much more powerful.
Why? Because that means your subconscious is communicating to your conscious self. In that way, you gain true insight into your deepest depths — which allows you to assert control over yourself and your life experience.
The therapy that comes of writing can be unexpected, unintentional — but super-helpful. It empowers you. That, in turn, can turn up your creative juices — which opens you to building your own worlds and improving your life experience.
Writing — fiction or nonfiction — can be therapy.
Do you recognize how your writing can be therapeutic?
Originally published at https://www.mjblehart.com on April 13, 2021.