Imagine if instead of reaching for your phone first thing in the morning, you read a note to yourself that you had written the night before?
This note could spark positivity in your soul and prep you for the day ahead.
Wordsmith extraordinaire Joanne Bell does just this, writing letters, notes and memos to herself as a self-care tool and credits the art of writing as saving her.
Given that the most powerful time for your brain to absorb messages is first thing in the morning or last thing at night, we don’t do it justice with mindless scrolling.
Joanne is on a mission to change this, delivering workshops that break our dependency on social media and show the power of writing to boost self-esteem.
Speaking exclusively to InspoDaily, Joanne lift the lid on her passion for putting pen to paper and why you just might benefit from it too.
Joanne said: “A few years ago, I went through a severe period of depression, which I have lived with since adolescence.
“I was due to take a trip away, which I knew I’d enjoy, but worried about coming home. So, I wrote myself a letter and left it on my pillow.”
She continued: “Reading those words when I returned brought a sense of comfort no one else could have given me. I knew that self-compassion would be a vital support.”
Seeing the force of this letter-writing practice, and with the help of her counsellor, Joanne began to journal and soon discovered how terribly she talked to herself.
Joanne explained: “I looked at my old diaries and saw so many things in them that simply weren’t true. I decided that if I could make myself feel bad by saying negative things, I could also help myself feel good, as proven by neuroplasticity.
“I started writing for myself daily and the results were transformative.”
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to modify its connections or ‘re-wire’ itself, essentially creating new patterns. Without this ability, we would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood or recover from brain injury.
As Joanne made a conscious effort to talk to herself more positively, she noticed how many other people, particularly women, talked down to themselves too.
Galvanised to help them with what she had learned, Write to Thrive was born.
Through a series of workshops, weekly letters, and social media titbits, Joanne uses a sequence of prompts to guide people towards a place of self-compassion and hope.
Joanne said: “The workshops are your own little writing cocoon. I want them to feel like yoga classes, where it’s about a process unique to you, rather than an end result.”
She added: “Writing has helped me accept myself as I am. Instead of pushing negative emotions away, I let them be; when I’m ready I ask what I can learn from them.”
It is this skill that Joanne hopes to pass on, showing how you can change negative emotions by unpicking years of social conditioning and programming.
Joanne said: “Being kind to myself through writing is key – letting myself go slowly and celebrate small wins has completely changed my relationship with myself. I no longer feel I’m a sub-character of other people’s lives but the heroine of my own.”
Yet in a world where we ‘talk’ with emojis and in a limited number of characters on captions, does writing really have a place anymore?
Joanne is a big believer that with the right awareness, yes, writing can be seen as a space for expression and will never be lost to our social media world.
She concluded: “In education and work, there’s a focus on writing as a skill – which is essential – but we should also be taught that it can be used as an emotional outlet.
“The thing I love most is that writing is completely yours, you’re not waiting on someone else to validate your experiences.”
It might be time to pick up that pen (or that keyboard).
To get involved, click here: Write to Thrive.