Research suggests that creative writing has an important role to play in the recovery from trauma, including medical traumas like cancer.
The reason it’s so helpful? Scientists believe that the act of writing about your experience multiple times, and from multiple different angles, helps with the act of processing the event and thus alleviates symptoms that result from it like anxiety, fear, and anger.
Although it seems counterintuitive for writing about a traumatic event to have a positive effect, when you translate the event from an emotional experience into words it is believed to change the way the brain organizes the experience. So what does this look like in practice? Follow these three easy steps to begin journaling about your experience:
- Find a quiet time and place where there are going to be few distractions. Don't be concerned if there is some noise, or if you only have a few minutes. Some people find that writing while you’re on the bus or subway, during a five minute break from work, or as part of your morning ritual can be very cathartic.
- Read through the list of journal prompts below, and choose one that speaks to you. Open up your journal or app and begin writing your deepest thoughts and feelings as you would tell them to your closest friend with whom you have no fear of judgment and feel completely supported by.
- Once you've finished writing, read what you wrote and pay attention to how you feel. Notice any changes in your thoughts or your mood as a result of writing.
- Repeat steps 1 through 3, writing about the same topic for at least two more days. It has been found that writing about the same topic on consecutive days can help organize and improve the clarity of your thoughts and feelings about a stressful or traumatic event, so we urge you to see if this can help your healing too!
Reflect on your existing strengths that will help you in your healing and list them. How did you develop those strengths and in what other situations have you used them?
Interested in learning more about journalling and cancer? Send us an email at email@example.com with the subject 'Journally' to connect directly with a OneVillage ambassador.