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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