3 ways poetry promotes health and wellbeing

3-ways-poetry-promotes-health-and-wellbeing

I often write how poetry is a life-savior. But in this particular post I want to dive even deeper in specific ways poetry can help you deal with every day stress and anxiety.

For me, personally poetry is a space, a huge empty room I can fill with anything I want.

Any emotion, fear, anger, desire and love I can put there, observe with care and sort them out. It’s a perfect mechanism to put your feelings under control and actually get freedom to breathe easily again, take off that pressure from your chest. Poem gives you back your voice, your permission to shout, to rebel, to smile! The American poet, Edna St Vincent Millay so beautifully put it in her famous sonnet

 I will put Chaos into fourteen lines And keep him there.

And even those who turn their heads and ears from poetry will still now and then switch on their radio, bang their hands in the rhythm on the stirring wheal and sing along their favorite tune. Aren’t poetry, songs and lyrics very close cousins offering us that immediate relief we look for in everyday life?

Another thing I have observed that poetry offers as a healing component is that many of us reach for literature in hope to find explanation for the things we cannot articulate, express or even understand ourselves. Poet knits a story in his poem ‘as it is’, yet it stays subjective and mono-observant. Still, there’s an inclination, that when we are sad, we are most comforted by sad poems and sad music. Often poetry comes with some sort of solidarity in times of solace where while you read your favorite authors somehow even subconsciously, you validate your own experiences as universal – which  makes acceptance of particular situation  much easier and less volatile. 

Jeanette Winterson, in her book ” Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal” says,

you can use poetry as a light and a laser.  It shows up your true situation and it helps you cut through it.

But also, on the other side of word-spectrum lies different possibility. And with every reading of a poem you are empowering yourself with additional hope and inspiration.

We know this at the most fundamental level as with reading each line we bring forth our own meaning, analyses, forcing us to make new connections among images, events, people and situations. ‘What is’ can be easily transferred to ‘what if’ and there is your healing power. The poem always brings you in the now, in the present moment: that creative pause you steal for your self in the every day routine is an escape from dreadful, petty ordinary things and a gate to inner peace and stillness.

Poetry is the celebration of life. Dark and bright moments – what ever they are, poetry is your companion. It can make you laugh, or even fall in love with yourself like Susana Thenon writes in ‘Nuptial Song’ (about being ‘happily married’ to yourself).

Use poetry as a beautiful distraction in your life instead of indulging in junk food, tabloids and TV realities. That is your safe harbor in the tumultuous time of your every day situations.


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27 Comments

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  1. Wow I have been writing poems from a long time and have been going through all those things that you have mentioned in this post. The insight of all the good things a poem offers to makind is mentioned so vividly in this post. Lovely post I am surely going to go through it every time just to remind myself all the blessing of Poetry.

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  2. I don’t think of myself as overly sensitive, but then perhaps I am, Speaking upon both having had a vision, which got be deemed as a witch’ thank got its 2017’ and not 1503’ but as for emotions go’ I do fall into love’ and when I create my best poetic and writings is when I listen to the music of the Genres known as Genre: Dream pop, Ambient, Slow-core. But I really hit a dry spell this past few weeks, I just could not creature, I fell flat my mood was down and sober…

    And you know what Maja, I really think it was all the heaviness and lack of human kindness out in the world around us. As if my heart was mood and energy was attacked. And Try as I might, my spirit was not there as uplifting to others or as creative in romantic poetry. And that is not a good thing for the hearts of the people in the world. So yes, Your overall health does affect your spirit and mood of creative writing and romance. So for Valentine’s Maja consider yourself as Hearted with Kindness and joy my friend. And thank you for such wonderful writings and being who you were born to be Maja. It is a great pleasure in both knowing you and reading of your works…

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    • Thank you Brock for wonderful comment. I know how the atmosphere around us affects our mood and desire for creating, yet I always see writing as a safe harbor for releasing any negative emotions.So, please continue writing and sharing your beautiful work. I wish you a pleasant week ahead, creative and joyful. 🙂

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  3. Thank you for providing some excellent insights in this post Maja. There is more research coming out linking the use of poetry to helping with mental health. I often find poetry helps to change the focus away from the negative. Even if the poetry is written from a dark place just getting thoughts and emotions down on paper helps to lighten the load.

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  4. I write almost daily, it is my meditation and my time to process the ups and downs of life. Maja, thank you for summarizing the many gifts of reading and writing poetry. I agree that choosing to have this as a part of my daily life is just as important as eating my veggies, exercising, authentic face-to-face conversations and music.

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  5. It’s good to see how poetry is becoming appreciated as therapeutic; everything which can bring ease to troubled spirits is to be cherished. Sites like yours, which promote the link between poetry and healing are a blessing.
    Have you come across Deborah Alma, The Emergency Poet? She travels about the UK to festivals etc in an old ambulance from which she offers poetic consultations, prescribing suitable poems for her ‘patients’. She’s also a fine poet in her own right, and an editor.

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  6. You explained the healing power of poetry beautifully! I wholeheartedly agreed with everything you said. Being a poet myself I’ve experienced the soothing qualities that poetry can have. I like the point that you brought out when you said, “Often poetry comes with some sort of solidarity in times of solace where while you read your favorite authors somehow even subconsciously, you validate your own experiences as universal – which makes acceptance of particular situation much easier and less volatile.” It reminds me of a quote by John Steinbeck where he says, “A writer, out of loneliness, is like a distant star sending signals.” Just knowing that someone understands what we’re going through can be a solace to us. I wrote something similar like this on my blog. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

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