Thursday, April 30, 2015

I've been studying the creative mind for a while now and I've shared some of my findings in a workshop setting. Here's the description of my workshop:
You always knew you were a little different from so-called normal people right? Did you ever wonder why some of those normal types just didn’t seem to ‘get’ you? Or why a group of writers can sit in a box of rocks, and a good time will be had by all?
It’s because we think differently. Yup. We’re actually hard-wired in a distinctive way. The bad news is, we’re a little crazy. The good news is, we’re a little crazy—and only another creative mind would get that.   
Ashlyn Chase was a psychiatric nurse for fifteen years. She chose that field because she was fascinated by the human mind and the amount of uncharted territory there was to uncover. She has also been trained as a hypnotherapist, which taught her even more about the subconscious mind.
Oh, and she’s written and published a bunch of novels to keep her creative mind out of trouble.
And here's the good news!
Believe it or not, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood and stress levels. In a study on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times per week over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference.

It turns out writing can make physical wounds heal faster as well. In 2013, New Zealand researchers monitored the recovery of wounds from medically necessary biopsies on 49 healthy adults. The adults wrote about their thoughts and feelings for just 20 minutes, three days in a row, two weeks before the biopsy. Eleven days later, 76% of the group that wrote had fully healed. Fifty-eight percent of the control group had not recovered. The study concluded that writing about distressing events helped participants make sense of the events and reduce distress.

Even those who suffer from specific diseases can improve their health through writing. Studies have shown that people with asthma who write have fewer attacks than those who don't; AIDS patients who write have higher T-cell counts. Cancer patients who write have more optimistic perspectives and improved quality of life.
Why? Some scientists believe this act of expressive writing allows people to take a step back and evaluate their lives. Instead of obsessing unhealthily over an event, they can focus on moving forward. By doing so, stress levels go down and health correspondingly goes up.

You don't have to be constantly reflecting on your life's traumatic moments to get these great benefits. Even blogging or journaling is enough to see results. One study found that blogging might trigger dopamine release, similar to the effect from running or listening to music.

I kept a journal all through nursing school. It helped me process some of the difficult circumstances I witnessed. I have a tendency to be empathetic when others are suffering.  A lot of writers are highly sensitive. But it's what makes us better writers...and writing makes us better physically, emotionally and spiritually.


  1. This is really cool stuff, Ashlyn! You should write an article on it for the RWR.

  2. So interesting! I always suspected I was a strange one. :) I agree w/ Shana, this would make a great article.

    1. I've been thinking of presenting it as an online course. I just need to know who to send a proposal to. Do you have any ideas? Preferably for a paying gig? ;)