An overactive mind can lead to mental health issues. We all need to find ways to clear out our thoughts so that we can focus on the ones that matter most.
Lately, I have been experimenting with “freewriting” every morning. What this means is that every morning, right when I wake up I write 3 pages by hand in a journal. I do this while I have my coffee and *before I check my phone.*
What Is Freewriting
The point of freewriting is simply to write and not let your hand stop moving. There is no need to have a specific topic, or even re-read anything you write. There is no desired end result of freewriting. It is not art for display, but rather for your eyes only. Don’t overthink it. Just get started.
While some of your pages may read something along the lines of, “Here I am writing. Hoping to fill up the page and get this over with.” You’ll find that as your hand continues to move, you’ll eventually start jotting down all those loose thoughts that are flying around and cluttering up your brainspace. You may even stumble upon some deeply buried truths.
Clearing these out of your brainspace and putting them on paper does wonders for your mental health, no matter if you go back and reread the pages or not. It is simply about freeing them via the freewriting process.
Why Should You Freewrite
Freewriting helps to clear out all the blockages, calm the mind via a brain dump, and allows you to prioritize and synchronize the rest of the day.
If you can commit to the practice every day you will find remarkable mental clarity. Particularly if you write the pages before you overload your senses with emails, news, and social media. By consciously sticking to a self-improvement routine every morning right when you wake up, you will gain confidence and a better understanding of your own mind.
Freewriting, whether you turn it into a readable to-do list or not, will help you to organize your day. By dumping it all out there at the start of the day, you will be better able to pick what to focus on that day. You’ll be less prone to distractions.
Having a more focused calm mind will help you to better control your emotions. It is therapeutic to tell your worries, troubles, dreams, and even a mundane to-do list to a journal that is only for your eyes.
How To Start Freewriting
Well, the most obvious first step to get started is to simply grab a pen and some paper and get started. However, you can take a more structured approach.
When I decided to free write 3 pages every morning, I went out and bought a specific journal for the process. Nothing goes into that journal but my daily pages. Not only does it keep these pages organized in case I do want to go back and reread them, it also brings a ritual to the exercise that adds to the benefits.
For at least the first week you freewrite, I do NOT recommend you go back and reread the pages. Reason being is that you don’t want to bring your judging mind into play.
Again, this isn’t art; it’s therapy. You shouldn’t care if what you write is good, or if you are freewriting “correctly”. All you should care about is getting it done.
It doesn’t matter if you are writing profound sentences, intense emotions, or just repetitive nonsense. All that matters is that you are activating your brain and clearing out the gunk. So set your judging brain aside and simply let the writing flow.
Most importantly, don’t show your freewriting journal to anyone. You need a safe space, that you know is just for you. This will let your mind relax more as it knows these pages won’t be read by anyone else, so why try and impress?
If in the future, you feel you have done some great work in your freewriting and want to share some of your findings with others, go ahead and rewrite the good stuff somewhere else. The freewriting journal though should never be shown. You need to feel you can put ANYTHING in there so that your brain will truly let go of what is troubling it most.
How Long Will It Take For the Benefits of Freewriting To Be Felt
For some, the benefits of freewriting can kick in instantaneously. The moment you set your pen on the paper, you may get lost in your own world and truly begin to let your mind flow out onto the paper.
After you are done writing the first pages, you may already notice that your mind feels more free, and less burdened by trivialities or dark demons.
However, for others it may take a few days or even a few weeks until they can truly ‘get in the flow’ and let the deeper corners of their minds flow out onto the paper.
Whether it works for you immediately or it feels like pulling teeth, I recommend you give freewriting a try for at least 14 days straight. You might just be amazed at how well it serves to improve your mental health.
It isn’t easy to let some of the truths of your mind out onto the paper. It isn’t easy to write 3 pages. Sometimes you’ll do it quickly without ever stopping your hand. Other times you’ll have to will your way through the day’s pages.
However, whether your freewriting is halting or flows out freely, you will learn from the freewriting experience and your mind will thank you for the release.
Mark Sandusky runs a men’s health blog that focuses on a variety of topics including mental health.
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The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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