How writing benefits our mental health

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In the last episode of Sophie Grégoire It’s OK not to be OKshe chats with the poet and best-selling author Tyler Knott Gregson. They both discuss the positive contribution of writing to our mental health, as it is able to relieve all the noise in society. Gregson reveals he was diagnosed with autism at an early age. He says the writing actually eased his childhood condition, as it became a relief from all the pressure built up in his brain. Throughout the episode, Grégoire praised the level of vulnerability in Gregson’s writing. He says this was mainly due to the constant exposure to feminine energy in his life.

Somer Slobodien is a journalist from Niagara Falls. Writing has been a part of his life for several years now and says it has always been an outlet that has done him good. We discuss with her the ultimate power of writing and what part of her practice we can really benefit from.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for about as long as I can remember. Professionally, only for the last three years. Ever since I was in high school, whether it’s writing fiction, logging my thoughts in a journal, or even stories about myself. I’ve always been drawn to creating this and getting lost in it.

What do you think are the therapeutic benefits of writing?

So much. For journaling, I like to talk about my feelings and what’s going on in my day-to-day life. It helps me feel more comfortable and relaxed. Even writing professionally, from writing lists to any other type of piece that helps others. It makes me feel good about myself because it means I’m doing something good. It is also a kind of meditation itself. I say this because you are able to get the words across. Whatever you try to say, even if you just write something stupid or a prompt; whatever makes you feel good. It’s a wellness exercise to do. It definitely helped me grow as a person. It helped me get through some things, especially when it came to my mental health.

How has writing helped you deal with your daily stress and anxieties?

Sometimes when I feel anxious about what other people think of me, I start writing my thoughts about it. It helps me bring myself back to reality and observe what I think. Being able to write it down and see it on paper tells me that I may have overreacted. I can feel a little calmer after that. Because you feel like you’re telling someone what you’re thinking without telling them. You’re just telling yourself, but you feel like you’re sharing something, and that’s therapeutic. It helps reduce my stress level.

How has writing helped you take a step back from difficult times?

As someone with extreme anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In my head, I sometimes think something bad is going to happen if I don’t wash my hands for a while. When I was younger, I washed them until they were dry, until they felt good. Writing has helped me navigate my anxious thoughts. After about 10 minutes of writing about how I feel, I think about it and start to feel calmer. Nothing serious really happened, everything was fine. I can go on with my day.

Given the space of non-judgment that writing provides, in what ways has it helped you on your own journey to self-acceptance?

It’s a good question. I feel like I’m still on this journey of self-acceptance and self-love. I don’t think I’m 100% there yet. But I learned a few lessons along the way. Something that always bothered me was that I just didn’t know what I was going to do with my career and my life. It has always been a stressor. But then I wrote about it, and that taught me that it’s okay if I don’t know. I didn’t need to understand everything. I am neither ahead nor behind anyone else. Maybe I’m where I need to be. I’ve been working towards self-acceptance, and by continuing to write, I feel like I’m getting closer to that by expressing myself.

How has writing made you feel heard?

It gave me a voice. Writing for the newspaper for the past few weeks for my internship, my family constantly told me that they had seen my work, read my articles, and noticed my hard work. I wrote something for world oceans day recently. Not only did it make me feel heard, but it also helped me get my message across about its environmental importance. I also wrote about plus size brandsit just helps me to highlight important issues.

Why do you think writing improves our general well-being?

It’s an outlet, isn’t it? You don’t even have to write professionally. You could just write a few sentences a day while you journal or even have your own blog. I just think for a lot of us it’s a way of expressing ourselves. To be open, honest and transparent. It helps us get through difficult situations and find communities through various workshops and groups. You don’t have to be a professional writer for it to help you mentally. If you’re a little shy or shy about talking to someone about your problems, “talking” to your pen and paper is something that could be really helpful as you take the next steps to help yourself.

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