What is writing for wellbeing?

For centuries, people have kept journals, written poetry and told stories to help enrich their daily lives. Instinctively, perhaps, they knew that these activities had healing properties. These days, we’re increasingly seeking – and seeing – proof of writing’s healing capabilities, as exciting new research is undertaken and experiences are shared.

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Making poetry primary: infusing poetry into primary school life

Poetry has so much more to offer than current teaching guidelines suggest. Of course it can be an effective tool for improving reading, writing and listening skills… but it can also be an additional shared language, a way of understanding complex subjects, a source of emotional support – and even a presence in its own right.

This year, I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in a poetry project at Highfield Primary School, London. Here pupils and staff, as well as members of the wider community, have had the opportunity to be touched by poetry as it’s been infused into school life.

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Using writing to connect Mind and Body

At the beginning of this year I set off on an epic journey: I began my MSc dissertation. I wanted to explore how writing could help with stress management. Specifically, I wanted to investigate ‘mind-body dialogue writing’. I had a hunch that this type of writing could improve the relationship between my mind and my body – a relationship that was in dire need of attention.  So, did it work?

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Writing my way out of a rut

If ever I have a writing ‘off day’ where I start to feel like I’m stuck in a rut, I take a quick look at the word cloud below. It fills me with excitement when I remember just how varied and flexible the written word can be. There are forms for all occasions.

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The best way to start the day

It’s always the same, it seems. As soon as I add something to my ‘must do because it’s good for me’ list it becomes ten times less appealing. When I first began writing Morning Pages – the act of splurging thoughts & feelings onto paper at the beginning of each day – I felt resistant. It was a ‘must do’ chore, along with all those other ones like eating five fruit & veg a day and regular exercise. But quickly I realised I was getting so much from my new morning activity that it stopped being a ‘must’ and became a need, want and desire all rolled into one.

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What you write is never wrong

It’s one of the most comforting and liberating parts of writing for wellbeing: there is no such thing as bad writing. You can’t ‘do it wrong’. The words you choose will always be right, because they are yours.

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Chasing happiness: discovering writing for wellbeing

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember, keeping diaries, crafting poetry and stories, composing songs, and even making writing the cornerstone of my career. Through the most difficult times writing has been there as a consistent, healing force. But I hadn’t realised just how powerful it could be until I came across the work of Dr James Pennebaker.

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