Pick up your pen and WRITE YOURSELF WELL
Iwas a counsellor with 20 years’ experience when I came across the phrase ‘writing for wellbeing’. It struck a chord – combining the two things I love, and I realised that throughout my own life I’d used the process of writing to help me work through my emotions, self-care and wellbeing.
I have an honours degree in English, including creative writing, so two years ago I started hosting ‘Write your mind’ workshops, for self-development through expressive writing, at my tranquil period home in the New Forest – visit writeyourmind.co.uk.
Writing things down helps us identify and clarify what we’re thinking and feeling. It has an amazing way of getting at what sits just under the surface of your mind.
There’s a powerful exercise I often start people off with. I ask them to write without
stopping for five minutes – I tell them not to think about structure or grammar and to try not to allow their critical mind to assess what they’re writing. Just write.
It can feel like a load of rubbish but it’s always of interest to people what
they find they put on the page. You’re reaching into what is sitting in your unconscious mind. And as a counsellor in the therapy room, I often recommend that clients write things down. It might be keeping a journal to
reflect on things, or writing a letter that won't be sent – to free you up to express your pent-up feelings.
I run full- and half-day workshops and several people have returned to do more than one. They’re popular among 40-plus women who are often at that ‘What now?’ stage of their lives. It’s a chance to give yourself breathing space – there’s something kind and nurturing about picking up a pen in a relaxed atmosphere and writing down your thoughts and feelings.
Jo Bisseker Barr, 50, is a writing counsellorfrom Lyndhurst