Our minds can become awfully busy. Weighed down by a thousand thoughts it can be difficult to find air or to carry the additional weight of even the smallest tasks in life. Behold! A journal entry exercise or else a quick mental release exercise; Free writing is picking up a pen and just starting.
Free writing can help to reveal to us what we are experiencing on a deeper level than we have necessarily realised in our busy consciousness. By practising free writing we learn to un-tie some of those weights allowing them to fall away for a moment. Hopefully for long enough that we can choose to pick them up at our own convenience, or maybe even leave them alone completely.
Start by the first thought that comes to mind. Even if that means writing, ‘I don’t know what to write…’ to start yourself off. I don’t know what to write BUT…
For every sentence you write, continue with your thoughts without worrying about the content on the page. It doesn’t have to be perfect prose or poetically expressed reflections… spill your mind like an open sandbag, opened to grant you easier elevation.
When you are done writing, take a moment to review what you have written. Look at the horizon of your mind and reflect until calm. Take a deep breath and close the book or fold the page to close that chapter for as long as is necessary or healthy for you.
When you do revisit your notes and entries, do so with peaceful acceptance of yourself and where you were when you wrote them. See if you can find new ways to support yourself towards better outcomes or observe to see if you are healing and moving forward. If you are not positively progressing over time, this may be a strong indication that you need some emotional support or counselling.
If you prefer not to journal, it is easy to complete this activity on a sheet of paper or two. If you want to keep the activity private and cannot easily or safely burn it, try tearing and soaking your notes until the ink runs… both of these methods I use personally as ways to visualise and actively engage in purging excessive, non-useful, and/or harmful thoughts.
A final pointer is that, for some, free writing without any guidelines can be intimidating or feel aimless. If you are one of those people, start by trying to write for three minutes. If after three minutes are up you still feel there is a lot left to express, finish your thoughts and the following time set your timer for longer. Eventually you will find the right time to write for your own release, and potentially find yourself gliding through thoughts you used to get stuck on…