So on the subject of writing and healing, I have these thoughts this week:

Writing -your true stories–really does heal! When you take out a notebook and pen to write about your feelings, you may not realize that you’re taking an important step in creating good health–not only emotionally but physically. According to research about writing and healing, writing not only heals trauma and helps resolve inner and outer conflicts, but it helps to heal such diseases as asthma, arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Other studies have shown improvement for depression, recovery from breast cancer, and high blood pressure. Writing helps to relief stress and sort out the things that ail us. Much of the time, we’re caught up in conflicts with friends, family, and co-workers. We wrestle with feelings of anger and frustration, sorrow, and feelings of isolation. If these are the demons you battle against, all you need is paper and pen.

“This is the first day of the rest of your life!”

Do you remember this saying that popped up in posters and cards in the sixties? It’s a call to action, a call to take this one day and make a difference in your life. It sounds too simple, doesn’t it? Or you say, “I’m not a writer; I don’t have time for this.”

It’s interesting–we are trained in school to learn math, history, English, and science. At home, our training is whatever emotional or philosophical nuggets our parents are able to share. But most people learn through family, school, and society to suppress their feelings. I’m not talking about just letting them loose all over other people, but finding an appropriate way to release negative feelings. We are taught to be nice, polite, suppress and repress feelings that get tangled up inside us, with no model for how to solve them. We pass our math exam, but end up with our feelings making us sick.

Feelings are fleeting, they need an outlet that doesn’t hurt anyone. We can’t fly off at the boss, we are supposed to treat our parents with respect. But what about the way the boss gave another person a raise instead of you? What about parents who don’t play fair, have favorites, refuse to discuss issues that come up in the family? What about a spouses or partners who don’t know how to resolve issues, and who don’t consider therapy an option? What about forgiveness that has not happened yet, or the desire to reconnect with a long lost friend. What about memories that sustain you and special times that you remember? These jewels are important to gather and value.

Your pen and paper, or your computer, can be your best friend, your witness, your guide into peace of mind, and a greater sense of connectedness and bliss.

This is how you do it:

1. Write down all the things that bother you. No censoring!
2. Give yourself permission to say it like it is, don’t be polite. No one will know.
3. Write everything from your point of view first.
4. Write for 10 minutes without stopping. See if you need more time. If you do, take another 10 minutes.
5. Write in the flow–without taking your pen off the page.
6. If you don’t know what to say next, write, “I’m sick of writing, I don’t know what to say, I’m finished with this–oh yeah, now I remember…” and keep writing.
7. Tell the truth. You don’t often get the chance.
8. Let your anger out. No one will know.
9. Say what brings you sorrow. Be your own best listener.
10. Give yourself permission to keep a secret journal.
11. Don’t share your writing–it’s okay to have this kind of secret.
12. When you feel ready, write from the point of view of the person you are mad at.
13. Write about the best outcome you could imagine. Write it fully–how it looks, feels, smells, and tastes.

It is important to know yourself and your feelings. You can feel better in twenty minutes. Write like this every day.

This is the first day of the rest of your healthy life.