Writing and Wellbeing: My Love of Lists

As I start to prepare for my first few writing and wellbeing workshops (booking details to follow soon), I thought I would share with you some of my favourite mindful writing activities.

First up, it is the humble list.

This might not seem like an obvious creative writing activity, but lists are great springboards to planning a piece of writing or writing something quickly or just exploring your own emotions.

Try using lists in one of these two ways:

Stopping the Rush

Mind racing? Chest tight with too many emotions? Can’t sleep because the same couple of thoughts keep popping up in your head every time you close your eyes?

Writing lists could be a great way to slow this river of thoughts and calm you down, whether you need to focus on an exam, be productive, get to sleep or you just want to be able to watch a programme or read a book without being distracted by your own mind.

When my mind is racing with worries I like to write three lists before bed.

First, a list of my worries. This might seem counterintuitive, but it gets your worries onto the paper and is as close to talking a friend as you can get without actually talking to a friend – so very handy for 3am insomnia.

Second, ways you can help yourself. These don’t have to be big, after all this isn’t a to do list to take over from the worries. It’s meant to be empowering as it shows you all the ways you can help yourself. From taking a bath that day to wind down, to eating well or just taking a few deep, mindful breaths. It’s just a little reminder that you’ve got this.

Finally, write a gratitude list. Yes it’s a cliche, but these lists are popular for a reason. And you can make them completely personal to you. Whether you are grateful for your pet, best mate, comfy bed or the giant bar of chocolate you’re going to eat once you’ve finished writing, this will help calm your mind and hopefully put your worries into perspective.

The Creativity Pill

Perhaps you’re feeling a bit stuck in a rut or have been in thinking mode all day, working hard, getting lots done and now unable to sit still and relax.

Sometimes creativity is the best way to unwind – or at least I find it is. If you’re not into crafts, you could try a creativity list which could lead to writing a short story or poem.

To begin pick a random colour, location or memory and emotion.

Under each category write a list, timing yourself for one minute. Each word should be connected to the one before, such as:

Orange

fruit

summer

seasons

time

memories

family

happy

home

Once you’ve completed your lists, take a minute to see how you can connect any words. Hopefully this will trigger an idea either for a poem or piece of writing, or it could be enough just to write the lists as a way to press reset and get out of your head.

Let me know what you think of these lists and if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

Speak soon,

Hannah

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