(Update Feb 2014 – I wrote here that I discontinued writing on my private blog shortly after starting it; but I feel that this post does a good job of explaining how I use writing as a way to relieve stress. Currently, I’m using pen and paper, just like I used to!)
This blog is fairly new; I just started it last week! So why, then did I just yesterday start another one? Well, I will tell you. I decided that I wanted to a have private blog in addition to this public one. My reason is, as you might guess, for therapeutic purposes. I want to have a place to write my thoughts freely without worrying about anyone’s opinion of them. Makes sense, right? So I almost just changed the settings on this blog to “private,” leaving me worry free. Except a public blog is kind of thrapeutic too. I realized, as I was thinking this over, that I need/want both. My private blog can be where I vent or brainstorm solutions to problems I’m experiencing. But my public blog can give me an opportunity to share things I’ve learned with others. I like sharing things that I learn (most of us do!), and my hope is that someone who reads what I write might benefit from my experiences and insights.
This idea of writing to clear my thoughts is not new to me. I’ve been doing it for a long time! Years ago I struggled with depression. I was very fortunate to have supportive people around me, and I was also very fortunate to be able to talk to someone at LDS Family Services (at the time they were called LDS Social Services). Catherine, who was my counselor, had me writing and writing and writing some more. I filled up several notebooks and I found it to be very helpful to get my thoughts onto paper so that I could see them. And of course, she was there to talk with me about what I had written and give me new and helpful insights into my thoughts. And so, I’ve continued on through the years (even though it has been a long time since that counseling), writing whenever I’ve felt stressed. Usually I find that what I write falls into 3 categories. And usually all three appear in one writing session. They are:
- Things that I am unhappy about, but nothing needs to be done. In a few days, these are likely to be forgotten.
- To Do’s that I need to take action on right away! I’m always amazed at how often things that I need to do (and that I’ve been putting off) are in what I’m writing.
- Stuff that I do need to do something about (i.e. a child’s misbehavior) but I’m not exactly sure what yet. Writing it down like this is great because I can clarify the problem, and then think through what is the best solution. It’s not always a quick process, and the solution is not always clear. But writing it down is a good way to get the process started!
I’ve always done this via pen & paper. But the idea of taking the process to “blogland” is appealing to me for two different reasons:
- I can delete things I write. See number one above? I often find that after a few days, I don’t want to be reminded of those things any more. They aren’t relevant, and it just makes me feel bad to read about them. So, I usually throw my writings away. Except, because it’s on paper, I have to throw it all away, even the “number 3” stuff. (The number 2 stuff usually gets added to my To Do List). So, on a private blog, I can delete (and keep) what I want, making it easier to clarify the problems that I need to solve.
- The blog makes my writings both neat and pretty! My hand-written thoughts are never pretty. I’m usually writing fast, just dumping my thoughts as quickly as I can. But I can also type quickly, so I can still do that, and the result is more neatly written text! Of course, this could be done in Microsoft Word too, but the blog format takes it one step further, putting my typed words onto an attractive background of my own choosing. I like that.
One downside to doing it this way is that I do not always have access to the computer. Other people use the computer too or maybe I’ll be somewhere other than home when I feel I want to write something. So I won’t give up pen and paper writing completely! But I think I’m going to benefit from both my private and public blogs.
What about you? Do you write as a way of handling stress? What else do you do that’s helpful? Do you have or have you ever considered starting a blog (either private or public)? Feel free to share in the comments section!
- Why I write (alexshye.wordpress.com)