Originally appearing on CreateWriteNow Blog: Journaling for Your Health https://bit.ly/34f9xZc
How can writing help you heal from emotional wounding? I journeyed to find the answer. Is it esoteric or a placebo effect? Is it rooted in scientific study and research? Or is it a little of both?
Over several years, I filled four journals with heartache and life’s misery regurgitating from my soul to pen to paper. Was it helpful in navigating my emotional wounding? You bet it was. I look back and read the pain, the rawness of disrupted thinking, and I feel a mixture of happiness and lament.
I see a version of myself past, like the first ghost from A Christmas Carol, haunting and fleeting. The woman who filled those journals with heartache and healing no longer exists, she changed and led to who I am now. This version of me, I like her. I enjoy being who I have become.
It took journaling to dig this version of myself out of the old muck wandering through life. I found who I was through writing down my deepest fears, allowing myself to separate from the negative emotions, looking at each objectively and finding a path forward to better thoughts and feelings. I connected to my spiritual side, discovering my beliefs and reconnecting to the Creator. Then I wrote a book about it and I continue to write on the subject through workbooks.
How did this happen, this healing through journaling? I began to examine the medical studies on such investigations. If you search “Writing Therapy”, you will find medical and psychological articles on the topic – studies showing writing down one’s emotions actual works in healing emotional trauma. One in particular, from the British Journal of General Practice, published by the National Institute of Health, starts with this quote from a Chinese Proverb, “‘I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I write and I understand.’
The article continues to give a summary of the existing studies, results, and a broader perspective on writing as therapy. The study’s conclusion is this, “there is enough evidence to warrant full trials of writing therapy in primary care”. Primary medical care, meaning your family doctor, internal medicine practitioner – those doctors on the front lines treating patients for general medical needs. How great is that?
I will continue to use journaling practice throughout my life. It helped me so much, I started teaching others. I developed a method of journaling to further assist in healing from trauma, the S.C.A.R.s. Method®, to Separate, Clarify, Access, and Rebuild one’s emotional and spiritual health – then to share (lowercase ‘s’) our experiences with others to offer hope and encouragement, but only when we have achieved sufficient healing. So, journal – for your healing, for your mental well-being, for spiritual renewal, and for your health. Doctor’s orders.
+ Br J Gen Pract. 2012 Dec; 62(605): 661–663. PMCID: PMC3505408
PMID: 23211255 doi: 10.3399/bjgp12X659457