Creative writing for pain control is a powerful tool to disconnect stressful thoughts from affecting your body. Holding on to thought patterns which you are usually not even aware of can have detrimental effects on your wellbeing. Our minds tend to cycle thoughts without us being aware of them. Thoughts are very powerful on the nervous system and can have both positive and negative effects. Problems arise when you are cycling negative thoughts resulting in heightening of the stress response in your nervous system. The stress response releases many chemical mediators and activates our fight or flight nervous system. When the stress response keeps running for long periods of time we start to exhibit anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive thoughts, and pain. In my practice of Chiropractic I see the relationship of stress and pain on a daily basis. The majority of my patients are not coming in for a traumatic injury. They usually state that the pain just came on slowly over time and now they can no longer deal with it. Chiropractic is a very effective method of treating pain in most cases but I find some patients that I treat respond slow to care or come back for flare ups of pain. I introduce the Creative Writing techniques to people who are in obvious need of stress reduction as a part of their care. The response when followed daily is amazing not just in their pain but in the feeling of peace attained by purging the cycling thoughts from the mind.
After discussing the basis as I just did above I hand my patients a pad of legal paper an give them the following instructions.
Start a routine of creative writing. Creative writing can provide a temporary distraction, while also improving your mood and decreasing anxiety. Why? Because it takes your mind off of the immediate problems and harmful thoughts that would otherwise engulf you. Journaling, and other forms of creative writing, can provide a safe place for you to let go of any bottled emotions and obsessive thought patterns. You can experience genuine self-expression through writing, without fear of judgment or over-analysis. Whether you realize it or not, you’re sharing a piece of yourself when you participate in the creative process. So when you sit down to write, it will bring out the background thoughts driving your stress.
Use this pad of paper to start writing down your thoughts. Every day spend 15-30 minutes writing any thought that comes to mind. It is important to do this on paper and not an electronic device. The pen and paper method will keep your writing connected to you only. It can be as simple as “I feel hungry”, “I am concerned about my meeting at work today”, “is my pain a sign of something more wrong with me”. As you practice this daily routine you will find it easy to perform and the writing will flow very easily. You will find this practice will decrease your stress and pain in a very short time. I recommend doing this everyday even when you are feeling calm. Life is always adding new stress and this exercise can be your outlet to let go of obsessive thoughts and patterned behaviors.
When you are done writing do not reread what you wrote or analyze what you wrote. Fold it up then rip it into pieces and throw it out. I find that after I am done writing I feel a sense of peace.
I also encourage them to spend a little time after writing to do deep breathing exercises after they have cleared their mind of current thoughts they are cycling. Focusing on slow inhalations and controlled exhalations. Taking the time to focus their awareness on their body and surroundings.
- Notice different sounds or smells in the room.
- Notice the feeling of your clothes on your body.
- Notice how thoughts randomly float into and out of awareness.
- Notice tension of muscles in the face and let them relax.