No Fight, No Flight . . . Just Write!



Many people lose their emotional balance when overwhelmed with fear, pain, sorrow, anger, even joy! Writing can be a way of straightening out emotional knots, a way of achieving balance in our lives so that a sense of well-being emerges. Within each of us there exists a “self-righting” mechanism. Just as surely as a plant will turn toward the light, our creative imagination helps us recreate ourselves. Writing therapy is also called poetry therapy, bibliotherapy or journal therapy. It is the intentional use of the spoken and written word for healing and personal growth.

While a facilitator of a transformative writing session may be a bibliotherapist, a journal therapist, or a certified/registered poetry therapist, many people naturally seek to vent their feelings with pen and paper on their own. After 9/11, newspapers across the country were surprised to receive poem after poem penned by people moved to write about the traumatic event. When confronted with crisis, scientists tell us there are three responses to stress: fight, flight or freeze. However, poetry therapists recognize another option — No fight, no flight, just write!

Expressive writing gives the writer a sense of mastery and control. This aspect is extremely important for people coping with change and experiencing stress. In my experience, creating a “play space” with words helps to anchor the writer to the here and now, strengthens boundaries, stimulates creativity and builds self-esteem.

Here are a few suggestions for getting started:

Freewriting

Let your hand move freely across the page — or let your fingers dance on the keyboard. Do not censor or try to organize. Free yourself of all judgment. Silence your inner critic; there are no grades in the school of life. If you can’t think of anything, write, “I can’t think of anything” until that thought changes. You may be surprised.

List-Making

These are easy and fun to do. You don’t need complete sentences: Five Things I’m Grateful For, Three Things That I Don’t Want to Think About, Seven Things That Make Me Smile, Four Things I Look Forward To, Five Favorite Foods, Seven Things That Annoy Me.

Complete these sentence stems:

I used to ______________, but now I ______________. Repeat several times.

My life changed forever when ____________________.

It’s hard to admit, but ___________________________.

I need you to understand that _____________________.

The 5-Minute Writing Jog

Set a kitchen timer and write about your thoughts and feelings or recent events. Include sensory details (sights, sounds, smells, tactile sensations, taste). After you re-read your writing, reflect on it with, “When I read this over, I realize that _____________.”

Sherry Reiter, PhD, LCSW, PTR-MS is author of Writing Away the Demons: Stories of Creative Coping Through Transformative Writing (North Star Press, 2009). She is director of The Creative “Righting” Center and facilitates writing therapy long distance and in New York City. Her husband survived a stroke at 38; he is now 70.

See our feature, The Poetry of Survivors for the stories and poetry of five survivors across the world.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

- Advertisement -

This link is provided for convenience only and is not an endorsement or recommendation of either the linked-to entity or any product or service.


 


 


 


 

Stroke Connection. Download the free app today.


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stroke Rehabilitation Two-Part Series

Making the Best Decisions at Discharge After Stroke

The type of rehabilitation and support systems a survivor receives at discharge can strongly influence health outcomes and recovery. In this, the first part of a two-part series on stroke rehab, we offer guidance for the decision-making process required when it’s time to leave the hospital.

What to Expect in Stroke Rehab

Following a stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type rehabilitation. In this second of our two-art series, we want to alleviate some of the mystery, fear and anxiety around the inpatient rehab part of the stroke recovery journey.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

AHA-ASA Resources

The Support Network

When faced with challenges recovering from heart disease or stroke, it’s important to have emotional support. That is why we created a network to connect patients and loved ones with others during their journey.

Stroke Family Warmline

The Warmline connects stroke survivors and their families with an ASA team member who can provide support, helpful information or just a listening ear.

Let's Talk About Stroke Patient Information Sheets

Let's Talk About Stroke is a series of downloadable patient information sheets, created by the American Stroke Association, that presents information in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read.

Request Free Stroke Information Packets

Fill out this online form to request free information about a variety of post-stroke topics.

Caregiver Guide to Stroke

The Caregiver Guide to Stroke is meant to help caregivers better navigate the recovery process and the financial and social implications of a stroke.

Tips for Daily Living Library

This volunteer-powered library gathers tips and ideas from stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals all over the country who’ve created or discovered adaptive and often innovative ways to get things done!

Stroke Support Group Finder

To find a group near you, simply enter your ZIP code and a mile radius. If your initial search does not pull up any groups, try
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stroke & Parts of the Brain

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

When Stroke Affects the Brain Stem

The brain stem serves as a bridge in the nervous system. It sits at the top of the spinal column in the center of the brain. When a stroke happens there, it can cause a few different deficits and, in the most severe cases, can lead to locked-in syndrome.

When Stroke Affects the Thalamus

The thalamus can be thought of as a "relay station," receiving signals from the brain’s outer regions (cerebral cortex), interpreting them, then sending them to other areas of the brain to complete their job.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Departments

Stroke Notes

Stroke-related news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.

Readers Room

Articles, poems and art submitted by stroke survivors and their loved ones.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These stroke survivors, caregivers and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Everyday Survival

Practical tips and advice for day-to day living after stroke.

Life At The Curb

A unique perspective on survival by comedian and stroke survivor John Kawie.

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.

Support Showcase

Our new department highlighting the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!