Writing can be more than just a hobby, or money-making endeavor. You can use writing to help recover from depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress, grief, and self-esteem issues. Don’t worry about your writing skill. The key to therapeutic writing is finding closure from painful experiences, and creating a different outcome in your mind from past events. Eventually, you will be able to rewrite the negative, anxiety provoking messages you’ve been telling yourself for years.
Be patient. Healing will not happen overnight, and you may need the help of a therapist.
Take one hour for yourself each day. Spend the first 15 minutes on mindfulness. Purchase an adult coloring book. (Yes, they create coloring books for adults. Adult doesn’t mean porn, so get your mind out of the gutter.) Create a mandala. (I will discuss mandalas in another article.) Work on some puzzles. There are many different kinds of puzzles to pick from: Jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles, logic puzzles, and Sudoku, to name a few.
Pick a topic, and write whatever comes to mind. If you choose to write about a difficult event in your life, it might help to fictionalize it. Try putting yourself in a different setting, or write in a genre that you’ve never used.
Here are a list of topics, and genres that you can experiment with.
- Write a letter to yourself about your goals in life. What have you achieved so far? Why haven’t you been successful in accomplishing all your goals? Then write yourself a letter of forgiveness. Remind yourself that it’s O.K. that you haven’t accomplished everything you set out for. You are trying your best.
- Write a letter to someone who has hurt you. Let that person know how you feel. I don’t recommend sending it!
- Look at a picture of someone who has hurt you. How does this make you feel? What do you want to say to this person?
- Look at a photo of a place that you’ve never been. What comes to mind?
- Look at a photograph, or hold onto a possession that belonged to a loved one that has passed on. Remember the good times that you’ve had with this person. What would you like to say to this person, if you had a few more moments to spend together? You can use this same writing prompt for a pet that you miss.
- Write about the things that worry you. I could write volumes on this topic. I worry all the time.
- Make a list of things that make you happy, or sad.
- Make a list of reasons that you are glad to be alive.
- Write about your favorite hobby.
- What don’t you want others to know about you, and why?
- What advice would you give to someone in your predicament?
- What advice would you give to your younger self?
- How would you describe yourself to another person?
- Make a list of things that you are grateful for.
- Make a list of the goals that you have accomplished.
- Write about a difficult event from your past in the third person. If it helps, try using one of the genres that I have included.
- Write about the best, and worst experiences from your childhood.
Don’t use a topic that creates a lot of anxiety for you, without working with a therapist.
You can achieve the same effect with poetry.
Genres (When I write about certain topics, I like to put a fictional spin on them. This creates less anxiety for me. I did not include horror sub-genres. I do not recommend using elements of horror in therapeutic writing. This may work for some people, but not for me.)
- Cyberpunk – A form of science fiction that is set in a lawless future. Technology rules over humanity in this deteriorating futuristic society.
- Space Opera – A space opera is a genre of science fiction that is set in outer space. It involves dramatic, romantic interludes, and interplanetary battles using futuristic weapons.
- Weird West – This genre of science fiction combines elements of the Old West with the supernatural.
- Robot Fiction
- Fairy Tale Fantasy
- Urban fantasy – Urban fantasy is a genre of fantasy that takes place in real-world locations. It contains supernatural elements.
- Portal Fantasy – Portal Fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy that takes place in a parallel universe, or another dimension.
- Arcanepunk – Arcanepunk is a genre of fantasy that mixes magic with technology.