Modern technology has brought us a highly developed civilization, together with the conveniences never enjoyed by earlier generations. Unfortunately, this did not come about without a price. We now face some problems not too common to those generations before us — stress. Modern living has become too hectic that people afflicted by it are getting younger each year. Although science and medicine have been taking long strides towards the elimination of the problem, coping with it is not an easy uphill climb.
Seeking professional help or taking prescription drugs may be resorted to but they are beyond the reach of many. Besides, most drugs promote dependency and may present more health concerns later on. Luckily, there is one method that can minimize or even eliminate stress. It can be done by anyone and it is free — writing! The mere action of putting pen to paper can have a very effective therapy when you are in trouble.
By writing down your thoughts and feelings in paper, you are unknowingly analyzing yourself and what is happening to you, the very thing a professional therapist is trying to do in his clinic for a fee. You may keep what you have written to yourself or share them with a counsellor if you are comfortable to do so. Sometimes, sharing your pain divides it, just as sharing your joys multiplies the feeling. Here are some instances when writing becomes an effective therapy:
- When you are angry: You can either vent your anger through physical or verbal means or suppress it within you, both with dire consequences. However, you can safely release it through writing. Put down in paper all you feel and the reasons for them. You will notice that even before reaching half of the page, your anger has slowly dissipated. This peaceful way of venting out your anger will not let you utter words you may feel sorry later but could not be taken back anymore, the damaged has been done. At the same time, you are able to empty your mind of the animosity without allowing it to grow within you.
- When you are under stress: By pausing and trying to describe what actually stresses you, you give your mind enough time to get off its muddled thinking, calm down, and start focusing on the solution. Spinning around aimlessly in circles causes you to be stressed further.
- When you feel depressed: One of the signs of depression is the feeling of being overwhelmed and trouble focusing. Writing helps you step back and analyze closer what could be contributing to your depression and the changes you can make in your relationships, your lifestyle, or the way you are handling your problems. Journaling your feelings and thoughts can provide help you to discover ways to handle life’s challenges and problems.
- When you are attacked with anxiety: A person with anxiety may feel tense may suffer from some physical discomforts like excessive sweating, a racing heartbeat, nausea, indigestion, insomnia, and difficulty breathing. Anxiety is caused by too much concern about the future. When you feel anxious, you fantasize worst imaginary events in your mind. Instead of wasting valuable time and energy trying to avoid them, focus your attention to what is actually going around you now. Write down the issue that you worry about and its consequences; this will help you put things into perspective and keep you grounded in the present moment.
- When you seem lost and confused: When you seem lost and could not decide what to do next, sit down and list down your options. Actually seeing them in black and white instead of just letting them swirl in your head as abstract ideas will help you see the actual steps you can take. You may discover more options than what originally just thought of.
- When you are fearful: Write what you are actually afraid of. Chances are, it is just an exaggerated imagination. Getting it out in the open instead of letting it haunt you in your head will enable you to see what it is. When you put a face to your fear, you can decide if it is something you can control or you need assistance, and then act on it immediately.
- When you are gripped with sorrow: The pain of loss cannot be easily ignored. It grips you repeatedly in waves unless you allow it to flow out of your system. Write down all you miss from the loved ones who left. By let go of the memories, they slowly dissipate from your mind. Unloading your pain of loss on paper is the safest and fastest way to recover from it.
- When you are in pain: When suffering from physical pain, it is better to describe the ache you feel in writing. Your doctor can make a proper diagnosis if he gets a clearer picture of the situation which he may not get if you just rattle how you feel in between moans and groans. With proper diagnosis, the appropriate medication can be prescribed that can result to better and faster recovery.
Besides being an effective (and safer) way to recover from your emotional and physical pains, writing’s side effect of developing and enhancing your literary skill is an added bonus. Try looking for a better cure in your medicine cabinet.