Writing letters seems to be something more people are returning to as an ancient expression makes a resurgence. Putting pen to paper can be a great way to connect with people. It is also good practice for the brain to get those neurons firing. Even though the world seems to have moved towards short email and text messages, digital communication is not always the best for mental health. There is something about firing up a pen or pencil to write some thoughts down to share with loved ones. Here are some tips to get you started on writing some letters and why it might give you a mental boost at the same time.
A lot of handwriting starts with journaling. It can be hard to navigate recovery because you may be struggling with a lot of personal issues. Mental health, physical issues, and life, in general, can create a difficult scenario. Write things down in a journal or try:
- Writing a letter to yourself
- Write a letter you will never send to anyone to get feelings out
- Talk about the difficult things you’re going through
- Gratitude journal all the ways you are thankful or put it into a longer letter
It’s okay to feel all the feelings. To help you get rid of these emotions, you have to begin writing them down. Name them, acknowledge them, and encourage yourself to see things in a different way.
Write for Joy
Even if you aren’t feeling it right now, write what it might look like to be happy. Write about what would bring joy and brighten your day. When you feel down or struggle with what is happening in life, take note of the things you look forward to. Don’t expect it to come easy. It may be really hard to do because you are not used to feeling some of these emotions if you’ve been depressed for a while. Be honest, take an assessment, and write down details. This will help determine what situations bring you down and how to navigate your moods better.
Write Down Goals
When you begin to write letters to yourself, you might consider if you want to write down some goals. Goals are a great way to begin sharing what you love about yourself. It may also be helpful to write down how you plan to get ahead in the future. This may be taking note of the steps to getting there, but also the bigger picture of what you want to achieve. Your future self is not here yet, but it is waiting inside of you. It may seem far off, but writing down what you want (and how to get there) can help you envision what she will look like. This also gives you time to assess your past, how things are different, and what you did (or need to do) to move forward. If you are struggling, talk to your sober coach, companion, or mentor to find ideas on how to write down measurable goals.
When you finally begin writing to others, there is a great practice for mental health. You may have lots of things to say to the people in your life. Write letters you don’t intend to send and express those feelings in a safe space. Writing a letter can help you get things off your chest and communicate more calmly. Writing can help you get words out of your head onto paper, but they don’t necessarily need to make it to someone’s ears. If anything, it is better for your mental health if they are never sent and left in a box. Better yet, have a burning ceremony and throw them into a fireplace or fire pit. At least you get to express the feelings and get them off your chest.
Write to Friends
With all the friends you have made in sobriety, it might be fun to write them a note to let them know you’re thinking of them. Maybe they live far away or are more virtual friends than people you see often. If you want to help them feel supported, pen a letter to them that talks about how you feel, what you’re doing in recovery, and how you can support them. Friendships from the past can be a great place to start with writing letters. Maybe this is part of making amends or maybe it is just a time to write letters to those you care about but lost touch with. If they are toxic, do not try to re-engage them with a letter. It is better to let the relationship stay where it is for now. Toxic relationships are difficult to navigate but it is easier if you keep a distance for a while.
If you are lacking the motivation to start writing, think about what you want to share. Talk about yourself and do some self-discovery. Make sure you have somewhere to sit down and write every day. Find a person you enjoy talking to and write to that person. Encourage them to write back and organize a time to write that works for you. Having a strategy helps so you can stay focused and on task. These techniques can help you get organized so you can find the right way to write to help your mental health.
Casa Capri Recovery is designed for women who are in recovery and need extra support for addiction. This includes mental health support (dual diagnosis) and trauma-informed care. If you want to be in a supportive environment with other women,
call us to find out how we can help: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon, Founder & CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, obtained her BA in Psychology and is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LAADC) specializing in women’s core issues. She is recognized as a leader in the field of mental health and substance abuse recovery where she has been an advocate since 2006.