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Heal yourself through writing

Konst - Art - Journaling - Dagbok

Start writing and get closer to yourself

Stories have always been important and given a large space in people's lives. Books, articles, comics and movies can take us on the most breathtaking adventures and journeys. But stories and words don't just entertain us - by putting our own experiences into words, we can organize our thoughts, process trauma and gain better health.

No one raises their eyebrows anymore when someone takes the help of a life coach, counselor or psychologist to talk about things that are difficult in life. However, it is relatively new in Sweden to use writing as therapy. And to write whole. Does it work? Yes, the fact is that writing can also help us feel better.

Back in the 1980s, James W Pennebaker, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, conducted a research study in which he had a group of students write about a traumatic event. Their writing would last 15 minutes each day for four days. Another group had to write neutral texts about concrete things. It was then recorded how often the students sought care during the coming six months. The results showed that those who wrote about trauma were significantly healthier. Since then, approximately 1000 more studies linked to the effects of writing on our mood have been carried out, and in, for example, the USA, England and Finland, writing is established as a form of therapy.

In recent years, more and more courses and opportunities for individual coaching in healing writing have also appeared here in Sweden. Because as with anything that is new and unfamiliar, it can be difficult to get started on your own.

How does it happen?

The healing writing can provide a sense of control, increased empowerment and reduced stress thanks to the fact that it helps the brain to sort and process what you have been through or are thinking about. By putting into words what you think and feel about yourself, it can later also be easier to tell others, if you want. Because the text remains, you as the writer yourself have the opportunity to return to your words and thoughts. Reading your text after a while can provide an outside perspective, and in some cases help you start coaching yourself.

The form of the writing is not very important. Studies by researcher Melanie Greenberg, among others, have shown that it is just as healing to write fiction as it is autobiographical, and the writing itself can therefore look very different. Shorter writing exercises or longer texts. Prose, poetry or diary entries.

However, it is important to know that in a reflective, healing, writing process, the focus is on what happens inside you, not on the final product reaching a reader. Today's society is focused on achievements and showing off what we achieve to the outside world. Writing just for its own sake, without a potential reader in mind, can feel alien to many. In addition, we are all used to having our texts graded when we were in school. However, anyone who wants to write to feel better is wise to try to let go of all thoughts about how it sounds, what is grammatically correct or what someone else might think. Whether the texts will one day result in a book or otherwise be shared with others can simply be a later question.

An exercise to get started
  • Commit to writing 15 minutes per day, for four days.

  • Write about something that occupies your thoughts. Maybe a relationship that rubs off, something you've been through, a concern you have.

  • Schedule reflection time after your 15 minutes of writing. Feel free to write down your thoughts in a separate document or notebook. How did it feel to write? How are you now?

  • Time limit your writing and decide in advance what you will do when you have finished writing.

Some reading tips on how to heal yourself through writing

- Write to Heal, written by Emelie Hill Dittmer

- Write yourself free, written by Maria Bom

- Opening up by writing it down, written by James W Pennebaker and Joshua M Smyth

- Writing to awaken, written by Mark Matousek and Joan Borysenko

The article is written by Ida Sundén, who is both coach and guide. Do you also want to write an article for our platform? Email us!

Hormonal balance

``All people have the right to feel as good as they can, being able and daring to express themselves freely is an important part of this. To feel that one's own voice carries, that one's story is important. Writing is a great tool for those who want to develop and get to know themselves. As a coach and guide, I help both individuals and groups, and I feel a great sense of humility at being able to take part in other people's stories, regardless of whether they are self-experienced or fiction.´´ – Ida Sundén

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Tip! Do you want to read more books that can be helpful in self-development and spirituality? Read this article with lots of magical book tips for you who are at the beginning of your spiritual journey!

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