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How Poetry Helped Me Become a More Positive and Healthy Person

Last semester, I went through a bit of a rough patch and not much could make me genuinely happy. For a while, I thought that I wouldn’t ever be able to feel happiness or satisfaction, and that really got me down. However, I had recently begun writing poetry again and I found that it was making me feel not just better in general but was also helping me process my emotions in a way I hadn’t been doing healthily before. Instead of talking about how I was feeling, I was keeping it bottled up inside and this would manifest itself in bad behaviors like isolating myself or extreme rumination. But writing helped to slowly eliminate these bad behaviors by transforming my negative energy into something tangible that I could make sense of.

For almost two years now I have been keeping a daily/semi-daily journal. In this journal, I’ll write about anything and everything, and it’s a nice way for me to keep my days straight. With poetry, I began to focus on specific topics and really delve into specific things that made me upset or confused me.

I was able to explore this small passion of my by taking a poetry class last semester. I took a workshop class where we had to write an original poem every week as well as read poetry books and write responses. We were given prompts each week that had to do with either form or content so we were never out of ideas. I really enjoyed this structured experience as it forced me to create even when I didn’t necessarily feel like I had anything to contribute.

At the end of the class, we had to put together a chapter book of 10 of our poems that we liked the most. Around the time this assignment was due was also around the time when I had started to feel really down about life and had become pretty negative. This assignment allowed me to visually process my feelings by writing about them and creating artwork to accompany my poems. My final chapter book, self-entitled “Coming of Age,” is an achievement that I am most proud of because of the rawness of emotion that it displays.

After this class, I continued to write and tried to do so weekly so that I didn’t ever fall out of a routine. I created an Instagram (@lucyswords) to hold myself accountable for creating new content at least somewhat frequently. Sometimes I find it incredibly hard to write because I either don’t feel any strong emotions or I don’t know how to make sense of the emotions I am feeling. I always write something down, however, whether that’s a quick note in my journal or a few rhymes on a piece of notebook paper. I find that it’s so useful to have something to look back on and build on later when I am feeling more creative. I also don’t try and make all of my poems realistic. Not all of them stem from real events. Sometimes I just like to imagine different scenarios and characters based on real life, and write about that rather than stick to strictly the facts.

Most of my friends know I love to write and when they ask me for advice on how to deal with a break-up or some other emotional trauma, I always tell them to write out how they are feeling. It may seem trivial but writing down how and what you’re feeling, whether that be through poetry or any other form of creative writing, takes a huge weight off of your chest

It’s always easier to do nothing than to do anything, but if you do want to improve how you process your emotions and make some art in the progress, I suggest you pick up that pen (or open a word document!) and start writing.


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Lucy is a junior studying Psychology at Boston University. She lives in San Diego but prefers Boston. She has one cat but she would really like a large dog. You can find her lounging on the Esplanade, binge-watching Netflix in her room, or hanging out with friends on the BU beach. 
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