Reflective writing uses a painting, poem, quote, memory or object to evoke an emotion and then writing to explore your response. Studies show these writing exercises can enhance self-awareness, and result in less anxiety and feelings of stress, reports Neuroscience News.
“It’s one of my favorite forms of writing,” says Catherine Passmore, with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Virtual Well-Being℠ team. “I was introduced to this type of writing a few years ago when I took some classes on it at the Smithsonian. While I have enjoyed doing this on my own, we have done these exercises before as a team huddle and found it really interesting that we could all see the same visual and have such different emotions and different reactions to it.”
She recently led an online workshop on reflective writing that you can watch here. Passmore emphasizes the workshop is for everyone — not just writers. All you need is a piece of paper and something to write with.
You can also do this exercise on your own by picking a painting you like and following these steps:
Step 1: Clear your mind and try not to assign a story to what is going on in the painting. Instead, write for three minutes nonstop about what feelings the painting evokes. Start with “I feel …”
Step 2: Place yourself in the painting as an observer. In this instance, you can create a story around what you see. Write for three minutes nonstop about what you observe from your vantage point.
Step 3: Place yourself in another spot in the painting. Write for three minutes nonstop about what you observe from your new vantage point.
“I find that a visual painting makes it a little easier to have an emotion or create a story or observation around it. That could just be me. You might be somebody who enjoys poetry or quotes. And that could evoke questions for you, and you can try it with that,” Passmore said.
Learn more about the benefits of reflective writing in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being℠ webinar, Reflective Writing Workshop with Catherine. You can also sign up for future employer-focused and individual well-being webinars and meditations here, where you’ll find past webinars and meditations on demand.
Photo credit: Getty Images