“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways” Sigmund Freud
Creating healthy habits that support my mental health wellness is ever growing. Whilst
I am on my journey of recovery and sobriety, I do the best I can to maintain these tools in my mental health wellness toolbox. Over a year ago I read the book ‘Artists Way’ by Julia Cameron, and one of the tools that I have taken from that book is something called morning pages. Similar to freeform writing, my morning pages give me the space first thing in the morning to journal 3 pages of uncensored thoughts, the concept of freeform writing is simply writing without consciously thinking. When I began freeform writing my thoughts were a lot darker, and I was in the midst of my unhealthy relationship with alcohol as a coping strategy to numb out the darkness, the morning pages gave me the space to get those thoughts out of my physiology and onto the paper, I had a sense of release in those moments.
Although in the book ‘Artists way’ mentions to not keep, or re-read your morning pages, I kept mine in a journal and a year later I have begun re-reading some of my old morning pages, This has served as a reminder of how far I have truly come. Expressing my emotions freely into my journal first thing in the morning has given me the space to express myself free from judgment, free from shame, and reading them back fills me with a sense of achievement. I am proud of how far I have come not only on my journey of mental health wellness but also on my journey of sobriety.
“Self expression is a vital part of understanding life, and enjoying it to the full” Oliver Bowden
Throughout my journey of self expression with freeform writing, I have found a lot of joy in writing and expressing my inner world, in an additional but very different way to painting. This practice has become a healthy coping strategy to explore my ever changing emotions and process them in a healthy way rather than numb them out using alcohol. There are many benefits of freeform writing, especially first thing in the morning. For myself it gives me the space first thing to really explore my inner emotional state and really let my creativity flow.
Some other benefits of freeform writing are that it removes the need for perfection, as there are no expectations in what you are writing, and provides a blank page where you can release your thoughts and emotions that you may be holding on to. It's a practice that can support someone in managing stressful emotions, and for writers it can help someone overcome writer's block, and for myself it has at times given me inspiration to paint. During the time where you write, it's about not thinking of a topic to write about, for me I usually base it on how I am feeling, sometimes it comes out in poetry form and other times the scribbles can be complete nonsense. There are many different approaches to freeform writing, and many different people will have a different experience. For myself it's something I have enjoyed and continued with, however for others I have mentioned it to and have tried it didn't find any enjoyment in the process. Give it a go for yourself if you think it is something that you would enjoy.
Here is an article that explains more of the benefits and different approaches to freeform writing, 15 Benefits Of Free Writing | Life Purpose Institute.