The Power of the Pen

30/08/2016

I came across an online feature by The Guardian called "The letter you always wanted to write." The feature encourages people to write down what they could never say face to face. The particular article I read was a letter written by a son to his parents. In the letter he tells them that throughout his life he has lived with fear, anxiety and an overwhelming fear of failure, convinced that he would never live up to the high expectations they have for him.
It made for very sad reading, especially when he reveals the depths of his despair and the impact it has had on his physical and mental wellbeing - and all this because he couldn't openly and honestly communicate with those closest to him.
It got me thinking about having the time to sit down and put pen to paper to express how we feel. In a world where many are 'chasing their tails' and consumed by instant communication and social media, time is a luxury and the role of pen and paper are almost extinct. But what if in this modern world the 'old fashioned' pen and paper are actually a good form of therapy?
It has been reported that if you're sad, angry or are experiencing other painful emotions then write about it, even after a traumatic event. It's said that this will help release the intensity of he feelings and by doing so will help you stay calmer and more able to stay in the present.
I find this subject really interesting so I decided to put down my pen and go online to find out more. I found that there is some evidence suggesting that writing down thoughts and feelings can actually make physical wounds heal faster (that's for another article), and that problems could be solved more effectively. The science behind this is how our brains our wired, we problem solve from the left side, our analytical perspective, but by writing we tap into the right side which is used for creativity and intuition providing the opportunity to think differently and see the problem another way.
The journal 'Advances in Psychiatric Treatment' published an article telling us more about the benefits of expressive writing. They have linked it with improved mood, well-being and having a positive impact on stress levels and depression as well as more physical benefits including lower blood pressure.
So if you've something on your mind or if there's a situation that's been troubling you for some time then write it down. Even if you never share it with anyone else, you can benefit from it all the same.