9 ways to boost your mood through writing
“Why we can’t we talk about sadness?
It’s one of those intimate and inevitable things like sexuality. I don’t care who you are, part of you is sad, but you might have been trained to be ashamed of it. Aren’t we all tired of pretending?
It feels good to be honest about what hurts.
When we allow it, sadness can be a gateway to creativity. Sadness, when we allow ourselves to revel in it, pulls down our walls so we can explore our softest places.” Wallflower, page 64
I wrote those words to declare the importance of vulnerability in healing and walking your true path. But what happens when you get stuck there? When the sadness becomes a familiar place that constantly seduces you into the same thought patterns?
Journaling is a self-care practice that allows us to release our feelings and observe our thought patterns without judgment. If you were to read my journal entries from the last three years or so, you would see a lot of self-pity and defeated language. I was deep in my victim story. Writing was still a comfort, but in an enabling way, as I became more and more attached to the idea that I would always be a sad person.
Only after pouring out my raw feelings could I even create space for a broader perspective. In order to heal, you must write about facts and feelings, what’s happening and how you feel about it. You must link feelings to events because this reveals the meaning of the experience in your life, so you can eventually release its power over you.
In other words, writing your emotions, no matter how dark they seem to you, will help you understand how you feel and why. No judgment allowed, because you must always remember that you are more than your feelings and more than your thoughts. You can observe them both to discover what Spirit wants to teach you.
But venting is not enough. We need to shift from venting to creating a healing narrative, a search for meaning. At some point, we must actively seek a bigger, wider, more loving perception of ourselves and the world around us.
If journaling has become a hopeless place for you, and the practice is only documenting how bad you feel, you’re not alone. I’ve learned from my own ups and downs that if I am not intentional about seeking out sources of inspiration and hope, my well will run dry and no matter how much I write, mostly fear will come out of me. If this has been your experience, consider the following ways to boost your mood through writing:
Gratitude Only. For thirty days, keep a daily gratitude log. Write down the acts of kindness and beauty that you observe each day. Write any moments, ideas, images, thoughts, conversations that awaken the hope inside of you.
Happy Memories. For thirty days, write down a memory from your life when you were happy and hopeful. Write to describe how those moments felt so you can remember the texture of those feelings.
Creative Play. Try a creative outlet other than writing like photography, painting, dancing, cooking, etc. Anything that takes you out of your normal loop of thoughts and awakens your imagination. Keep a log of your experiences. Describe how these activities make you feel.
Acts of Service. Do an act of service or kindness for someone and then write how you feel about it afterward.
Thank you Letter. Write a letter to someone you are grateful for and tell them why.
Aim Higher. Channel your higher self when you write. What would your spirit say to your human self?
Focus on Forgiveness. Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself or someone else.
Happily Ever After. Write a fictional short story where the main character is based on you. Write a story of how she finds her way, not to a specific circumstance, but to a mindset of hope.
Study. Read books and watch videos on mental wellness, healing, or anything on spirituality, positive psychology or personal development, and take lots of notes on the ideas you feel most drawn to. Books have repeatedly played an integral role in restoring hope for me when I’ve lost it.
If any of these ideas resonate with you, I challenge you to commit to one of them right now. Make it a self-care project. Look at your calendar and schedule in time for it in a way that is realistic for you. Remember, taking action and developing new habits are key aspects of creating change in your life.
The new edition of my book Wallflower is a collection of healing stories and creative inspiration for quiet women who want to be heard and anyone who has silenced parts of themselves to be accepted. It’s available on Amazon.