Writing's a brilliant way of helping to speed up recovery from anxiety. Studies show that writing acts as a shock absorber against excessive thinking, which is something we all do when we’re anxious.
Writing, instead of thinking, helps to get problems out of the mind and onto paper. This gives us a better perspective and helps us to find solutions. It also gives us reassurance that we can manage day-to-day problems. When you look back through your journal entries of even a few days ago, you will see that you got through a difficult period and this will give you the courage to continue.
You can buy a special notebook you’ll enjoy writing in but keep it somewhere safe as you don’t want anyone else to be reading what you’ve written. It’s for your eyes only.
There is one type of writing technique I want to show you that needs more of an introduction and explanation and that’s Non-dominant writing.
Non-dominant writing is designed to help you access those parts of yourself you may have ignored for years. When we’re anxious we are not in tune with the wise and sometimes vulnerable part we keep hidden inside.
However, this wise and sensitive part of us is full of intelligence on how to make our lives better. As we get older we tend to push away these instincts and, in the process, we push away our creativity, which is fundamental to our well-being. We all have the answers to the challenges that face us and it’s a case of reuniting with that hidden part of us when we’re struggling with life’s problems to help us get back on our feet.
Non-dominant hand writing is done with the hand you do not write with.
If you write with your right hand, your non-dominant hand is the left, and if you write with your left hand, your non- dominant hand is the right. Your non-dominant hand is connected to your intuition and emotion whereas your dominant hand is connected to your conscious, thinking side.
Once you pick up a pen in your non-dominant hand you’re automatically writing from a child-like standpoint. It’s hard to get the words to look right and even holding the pen can feel awkward. However, the words you write are straight from the heart and can help you access your true feelings about something when you are unaware of these.
Once you begin writing with your non-dominant hand you may be surprised at the words falling on the page. You may become frightened at the strength of the feelings that are released because they’ve probably been buried for some time. But the amazing thing is that you can then use your dominant hand to support your more vulnerable self. This activity works best when you use two pages of your journal. So if you are right-handed you write with your left hand on the left-hand page of your journal and respond with your right hand on the right-hand page of the journal and vice versa if you’re left-handed.
Here’s a quick example:
Non-dominant hand: I feel sad today.
Dominant hand: Why do you feel sad?
Non-dominant hand: Because I’m lonely and alone.
Dominant hand: You’re not alone, it just feels like that.
Non-dominant hand: But there’s no one here.
Dominant hand: Yes, but only for now. And I’m here for you. I’ll be here every day from now on.
Non-dominant hand: Do you promise?
Dominant hand: Yes I promise.
As simplistic as this looks, it really works.
While you explore yourself through non-dominant writing you may find that the language you use with the different hands seems to come from two separate parts of you. And it does! One is expressing feelings whilst the other is expressing logic. It helps to bring you closer to yourself and it works very quickly.
This activity is used in the Beat Anxiety Program to help you find things that you can focus on and help break through the chaos of anxiety.
You may find that by doing this activity regularly your life may become simpler. What’s exciting is how we recognize that our needs are actually very simple. We don’t need to conquer the world; all we really want is to feel peaceful.