Thursday, January 12, 2006

Therapeutic writing

I was in Barnes and Noble looking for something else, actually, when I came across a little book called Stress Control For Peace of Mind by Linda Wasmer Andrews. Here's a passage on a process called "therapeutic writing":
Therapeutic writing is another way to get your worries out into the open and then dispense with them. Bruce Rabin, MD, PhD, medical director of the Healthy Lifestyle Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, recommends this procedure. He says it often leads to a dramatic reduction in stress.

1. Pick something that is bothering you as the topic for your writing. It can be a distressing event that occurred today, or it can be a problem that has plagued you for decades. Any issue of concern will work.

2. Find a quiet spot where you won't be disturbed. Then write about your topic continuously for 15 minutes. Although Rabin says that he's still unsure why, it seems to be important that you write your thoughts out by hand. Typing on a computer doesn't appear to have the same benefits. If you run out of new things to say, repeat what you've already written. Don't worry about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Just get your thoughts on paper. Also, if you start crying, don't be alarmed. Rabin says this is a common reaction.

3. When your 15 minutes are up, tear up or shred the paper immediately. Discard it so that no one - not even you - will ever see what you wrote.
From a meditative perspective, this obviously works because it is an exercise in both coming out of the mind poison of delusion as well as in letting go. There's also a non-judging element involved as well in that you just write continuously without worrying about spelling or grammar - that you just let it flow.

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