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The Write Stuff - 5 Ways to Practice Expressive Writing

Expressive writing

Is writing for the purpose of putting your own thoughts and feelings into words and it can be a powerful way to enhance overall wellbeing. 

It focuses on expressing and describing your emotional experiences. This method doesn’t worry itself with the rules of writing, grammar, and spelling.

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The Write Stuff - 5 Ways to Practice Expressive Writing

The Write Stuff - 5 Ways to Practice Expressive Writing

https://www.jcmh.org/expressive-writing/

jcmh.org

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Key Ideas

Expressive writing

Is writing for the purpose of putting your own thoughts and feelings into words and it can be a powerful way to enhance overall wellbeing. 

It focuses on expressing and describing your emotional experiences. This method doesn’t worry itself with the rules of writing, grammar, and spelling.

Expressive writing activities

  • Try Journaling: Putting words to our emotions often helps us understand them in a new way, and process them more effectively.
  • Schedule writing into your routine: e.g. Morning pages.
  • Find inspiration in music: Put on a random playlist and transcribe the images, memories and emotions that the music evokes for you.
  • Practice letter writing: Unspoken thoughts or feelings can feel like a heavy burden to carry. Consider putting these sentiments into a letter.
  • Expressing gratitude: Writing about people or experiences that we feel grateful for can help us maintain focus on the aspects of life that are hopeful and meaningful.

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The “5 Ws + H” method

... for establishing what and how you will write:

  • Who: Who is my audience?
  • What: What do they need to know?
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Music and the brain

Music has a real impact on human emotions and perception. Music activates different areas of the brain in different people, but there are general brain and mood patterns revealed by music research.

For the most part, research suggests that listening to music can improve your efficiency, creativity and happiness in terms of work-related tasks. 

The journaling trap

By examining positive moments too closely, we suck the joy right out of them. 

Therefore, when seeking insights from journaling, explore the negative and not overthink the...

Discharging emotions

Using journaling solely as an outlet for discharging emotions may suck the insight right out of the experience.

The benefits of expressive writing only emerge when we write about both the factual and the emotional aspects of the events we’re describing—neither on its own is effective in producing insight.

Moderation, even in reflection

To ensure maximum benefits, it’s probably best that you don’t write every day in your journal. 

People should not write about a horrible event for more than a couple of weeks. You risk getting into a sort of cycle of self-pity. But standing back every now and then and evaluating where you are in life is really important