More and more now, we are told to keep a journal. Stationery shops are FULL of them, but no one actually tells us what to write in our journals. So we may fill a few pages but then give up.
This is where structured exercises, prompts and workshops grounded in Writing and Wellbeing research prove so useful. I’ve been trained via the Center for Journal Writing in the US, and also through my own teaching on the MA In Creative Writing and Personal Development, to work with a number of different groups and individuals.
It may be just right for you if you are…
- a stuck creative
- at the point of crisis in your life
- wanting to make a change but not sure where to go
- looking to break old patterns and habits
- would like to have a go at writing
- looking to find out what journaling is all about.
How it can work?
- In a workshop (see News/Events for future dates)
- On a one-to-one basis
- If you are organising a retreat or conference, Sarah can give short workshops as part of the larger programme.
What do I need?
Yourself, a pen and a journal. Simple.
But I can’t spell, write nicely, do grammar etc etc etc
Join the club. And what’s more it doesn’t matter. You are writing for yourself, and to find out what you think, not entering a handwriting competition. Because if that were so, I definitely wouldn’t win. I’m not that great on spelling either….
Does it work?
Yes! Without a doubt. Just look at the research that is currently being done in clinical trials:
Writing about gratitude predicted greater subjective sleep quality and sleep duration, and less sleep latency and daytime dysfunction. (Study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research)
Keeping a journal after a divorce not only helped people make sense of the experience emotionally and move forward, but also resulted in lower heart rate and higher heart rate variability – associated with better health. (Research from University of Arizona)
As well as lowering depression and anxiety, journaling strengthens immune cells called T-lymphocytes. (Research by Dr James Pennebaker)
ASTHMA AND RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS:
Research into patients with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis showed, of evaluable patients, four months after treatment, asthma patients who journalled showed improvements in lung function, and rheumatoid arthritis patients showed improvements in overall disease activity. At the end of the research – 33 of 70 (47.1%) experimental patients had clinically relevant improvement, whereas 9 of 37 (24.3%) control patients had improvement.
A pilot study into the management of IBS showed significant improvement (37.4% at 1 month, and 53.8% at 3 months) amongst the writing group. This was not seen in the non-writing group.
But it’s also possible to write just to enjoy it! These testimonials below are from just a few people who have been on Sarah’s recent workshops. And perhaps the greatest recommendation is how many people keep coming back for more.
“Sarah is a warm, personable and friendly presenter / tutor. Having never done any journaling before and having a fear of writing, I found her course Writing for Wellbeing to be a very useful mix of practical skills in writing a journal and to my surprise a very enjoyable experience! I enjoyed the short exercises and her use of poetry. I highly recommend Sarah as a tutor and her course Writing for Wellbeing.” C.S. (Counselling and Psychotherapy)
“The unsent letter was a joy. It gave me permission to put into words how I felt about two people who have featured in my life and who have given kindness after kindness after kindness. There are some things that I cannot say to them directly as it would bring back sad memories for them, but what the letter did enable me to do was to tell them later on that week how much I value them. Actions did follow.” S.H.
“Sarah is a natural communicator. She encourages collaboration and empowers people to express themselves. The one-day workshop combined the joy of discovering new poets with the opportunity to explore simple yet effective techniques that unlock personal creativity. She is utterly non-judgmental and open in her approach. I came away feeling challenged yet exhilarated by the experience.” Beverly Landais, certified coach ACC, FCMI, FCIM, RSA