There has been convincing research as to the link between creativity and depression. Vivid imagination without an outlet for its expression can become an ingredient in the recipe for depression.
And… empathy often goes along with creativity. The more empathy you have, the harder it is not to be affected by injustice, unless you use your creativity, even in a small capacity, toward achieving justice for whatever cause to which you are drawn.
Story telling became an outlet for me and has the potential to influence a bit of that injustice. In the meantime, it is fun and one of my tools for keeping my intense imagination from frustrating me and for keeping depression from settling in.
Here are seven other types of writing to help fight depression or get unstuck:
- Action Board— Create an action board that lists and illustrates your goals. Action boards are far more specific than vision boards. This Mama’s Corner of the World blog shows a great example of an action board. Achieving your goals: Creating a successful action board from a vision board
- Free writing— Feel like screaming? Instead, sit down and write without looking at what you’re writing. Write without editing. Dump everything from your subconscious onto the page. The Artists Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity author Julia Cameron recommends morning pages, three pages of free write first thing in the morning.
- Gratitude list— Write down three to five simple things for which you are grateful. Try to do this every day. It shifts your focus and much more as explained in this UC Berkeley article How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain.
For example… 1) I got home in time to see my favorite TV show. 2) I was able to take a walk in the light rain, and it felt refreshing. 3) I found my favorite sweater I had misplaced in the back of the closet.
You can type your brief list into the notes section of your phone, keep a journal on hand, or simply write them on a scrap of paper.
- Journaling — Keeping a journal provides you a safe place to relax and reflect as you write down what’s on your mind. It’s a way to get to know yourself better and learn how to take better care of yourself.
This University of Michigan DepressionToolkit.org entry, What is Journaling? provides details.
- Letters never to be delivered — Sometimes when someone greatly upsets you and there is little likelihood of getting through, it helps to write them a letter explaining how and why they upset you and then either toss the letter or destroy it in a ritual, such as going to the beach, ripping it into tiny pieces, and throwing it away into a trashcan there. Or you can write a passionate letter to the universe or to yourself as described in this blog, Write Letters to Heal Pain Release Anger Let Go and Start Living.
- “Let it go” box— Rescue an attractive, small box from the recycling heap and write what’s bothering you on a slip of paper and place it in the box to release your fear or anxiety.
- SMART goals— When you are feeling down, start with small goals, such as I will work on my short story collection at least 45 minutes a day five days a week for the next month.
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.