Blogged by: Melbourne Central 21 Oct 2020

Writing for Therapy

Tell us a bit about yourself, what makes you tick and what’s your role at Milligram?
Hello! My name is Grace and I’m the Marketing Coordinator at Milligram. What makes me tick… I like anything design related and I love love love film. I’ve also recently discovered drinkable konjac jelly (very yum, very low in calories) and think about that a lot. 

Describe yourself in 3 words?
Fun, fresh and flirty! Just kidding. I feel a little shy to describe myself, so I guess that makes shy one haha.
I recently found out what feeling weepy means and I think I feel weepy quite often.
And third probably something to do with humour. I like to laugh and approach life with humour. 

Writing can be a little daunting… why should we give it a go? 
Oh, there are so many benefits to writing as therapy! It can help you with your mental health, healing, relationships, conflict resolution, and understanding your thoughts, emotions, behaviour and reactions to situations. You’ll also find that you get a deeper understanding of yourself and others. 

Also writing doesn’t always have to be related to something emotionally heavy, there is great joy in writing about how beautiful the day was or how the leaves looked in the sun. 

Tips on starting your first journal?
Don’t be afraid and don’t put too much pressure on yourself! No one is going to judge you and please don’t be so hard on yourself either. Feel free to express anything. I recommend stream of consciousness writing. 

Your journal is there just for you :-)

Take us through some of the therapeutic benefits?
I read a quote that said healing is feeling. The more we are honest about how a specific situation is making us feel, the more we are better able to cope and navigate. It’s especially helpful if you struggle with mental health or are dealing with trauma. 

It’s also quite nice to take out some analogue time for yourself away from the modern and electronic world. 

And like doodling, colouring or drawing, the act of writing on paper is in itself very therapeutic.

What are some key techniques to journaling/writing?
Expand your emotional vocabulary - this is super important! There are so many benefits to enriching your emotional vocabulary (I recommend looking it up!!) It’s important to properly express how we feel, especially in traumatic situations, and by having the right terminology to do so it can help with getting through a tough situation, or in regards to trauma, it can help with the healing process.

Reframe situations - we’re all susceptible to spiralling but with reframing situations, we can slow down and think about our emotions and reactions to particular triggers. For example, instead of thinking “oh my god, everyone hated me tonight. No one wanted to speak to me. I am such a loser. Who would want to be my friend?” You can reframe it by writing, “Tonight’s get-together didn’t go too well. Only a couple of people interacted with me which made me feel self-conscious. However, now that I think of it, maybe my shyness came off as unapproachable or uninviting? They could quite possibly be shy too. Hm, I wonder why I felt so anxious and insecure? I should explore where my insecurities are coming from and look into ways I can improve my self-esteem. Nonetheless, next time I’ll try to put in more effort in social situations.” 

Tips on setting up space to write, relax and unwind?
I like to burn essential oils. I really do believe in aroma therapy. If essential oils aren’t your thing, burning a candle is always good for ambiance. Music wise, I personally enjoy feeling pensive when I write. Soundscapes, ambient music, instrumentals and movie scores help achieve that. One of my favourite soundtracks to write to is the Me You and Everyone We Know soundtrack composed by Michael Andrews. I quite like the Last Life In The Universe theme and soundtrack too.


Set the Scene with Grace from Milligram

Where can we source materials to get started on our writing journey?
The Milligram Write section is a great way to start! My favourite notebooks to write in are ruled notebooks in A5/B5 or similar. I also enjoy writing with ballpoint or rollerball when it comes to journalling. 

I strongly recommend The School of Life products especially the Emotional Barometer and Emotional First Aid Kit. TSOL products are great in helping explain and provide perspective on confusing, stressful and complicated situations or emotions.

The Recharge section is also great for anything else you need to help set up your space. 

Where can I find out more information on journalling and writing tips?
We have a short blog on Writing as Therapy as explained by Dr. Sian Prior for The School of Life. I recommend it! It’s quick to read and the information is so useful - very low risk high reward! Haha. 

How has writing improved your own wellbeing?
2016-2018 was a really hard time for me. I didn’t have a great support system back then, so I really leaned on writing. I journaled a lot and it really helped. I guess you can say writing and I have a pretty good relationship haha.

I think one of the most important things to come out of writing is that it has made me more of an empathetic, assertive and understanding person, which in turn improved my relationships with others. The deeper we understand ourselves, the deeper we understand and connect with others. I think genuine connection is one of the most, if not the most, important thing in our lives. 

One of my favourite quotes that resonates a lot with me is from Bojack Horseman - “In this terrifying world, all we have are the connections that we make.”