10 Apr Healing Words: How Poetry Can Help You Connect with Your Emotions and Find Inner Peace
Poetry has been used as a form of artistic expression for centuries. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the mental health benefits of writing and reading poetry. This article explores how poetry can help you connect with your emotions.
Healing Words: How Poetry Can Help You Connect with Your Emotions and Find Inner Peace
by Chinyere Nwosu, April 2023
Consider these scenarios
– A young man in love but unsure how to convey his feelings to his love.
– Your beastie is going through a very difficult time. You have been through such but cannot share your experience with him without sounding cocky. Yet just sitting with him and listening isn’t helping.
– Something tragic happened that affected many people. You want to share your thoughts, stretch out a hand of friendship, say a word of comfort, etc.
I’m certain you have some ideas in your mind about what you would do in these situations (share your thoughts in the comment section below or send us an email).
Think about these
One of the most difficult things to master is your emotions. Sometimes, you wonder why someone is telling you to manage your emotion when you haven’t even identified what you are feeling. What about when someone says – “Control that anger.” And you are thinking – “Oh my goodness! I am deeply sad, not angry.” Speaking out what is on your mind at such times may even be of no help.
We are often advised to get in touch with our feelings and to share them. When we ask how we can do that, the manual we receive looks like this –
– Name the emotion at the moment.
– If it is difficult, go through and seek help if need be.
– Express your emotions in healthy ways
– Pay attention to your body.
– Pay attention to your actions
– Your heart knows.
To achieve the first step – name your emotion – you have to first connect with your emotion to know what you feel. Over the years, humans have expressed their feelings in different ways – such as singing, dancing, and writing. This article expounds on how poetry (writing, reading, listening, speaking) can help you connect with your emotions and find inner peace.
Poetry and emotions.
Some people have asked, what use is poetry?
Humanity is linked by the ties of sentimental relationships. We are of the same race – the human race. Despite our different cultures, belief systems, and civilization, we are plagued by the same feelings. Our joys and sorrows are due to similar illusions and disappointments. To be able to explain those moments in life that arouse these emotions and the associated feelings in concrete terms is a skill many people struggle with, and those who can, cherish it. Poetry can help you connect with your emotions.
The power of language
Poetry allows us to explore feelings in a way that is not possible through everyday conversation. Using metaphors, similes, and other literary devices can help us describe our emotions in a more nuanced and expressive way. This is the power of words.
Secondly, we can also explore emotions that we are unable to or uncomfortable discussing with others. This form of self-expression can be especially beneficial for individuals who have experienced trauma or are struggling with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
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The Benefits of Poetry – How Poetry Can Help You Connect with Your Emotions
Poetry helps us conceptualize and visualize our emotions.
Poetry is one way we can conceptually visualize our emotions in a manner that demonstrates the complexity of our everyday realities. It also does this in a subtle manner that our hearts are touched, and we connect with others and our inner selves.
Poets express anger, fear, joy, faith, hope, love, and even despair, amongst others, in verses. Writing poetry allows individuals to connect with their emotions in a more meaningful way. Through the act of writing, individuals can process their emotions and gain a better understanding of how they are feeling. This can lead to increased self-awareness and improved emotional regulation.
In addition to writing poetry, reading poetry can also help you connect with your emotions. By reading poems that describe similar emotions to what you are feeling, you can feel a sense of validation and connection. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who feel isolated in their emotions.
Examples of verses that show how poetry uses and connects emotions
“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious”
Spoken at the 2020 United States presidential inauguration.
This is a testament to the power of poetry. Amid the pandemic and other mishaps, the words brought solace as they expressed the feelings and hopes of many at the time.
Your subjects hope, dread Sire–
The crown upon your brows may flourish long,
And that your arm may in your God be strong!
O may your sceptre num’rous nations sway,
And all with love and readiness obey!
Phillis Wheatley (To The King, Most Excellent Majesty)
With this verse, you connect with the king, his kingship, and the prayer for success.
Beauty is sleek and soft,
Like petals, it buds and opens wide,
It fluoresces in an array of colours,
That brightens life on every side.
Chinyere Nwosu (Roses and Thorns)
The verse paints a picture of beauty in your mind, awakening your imagination. You choose your own colours and picturesque beauty in the colours you love.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
Maya Angelou (Caged Bird)
The words lead you to ponder the plight of the caged bird and the paradox of some occurrences in our everyday lives.
2. Poetry evokes emotions.
Plato (1961) opinioned that poetry evokes and enhances emotions that ought to be restrained. “Poetry stands between narrative arts and music” – (Johnson-Laird & Oatley, 2022). Just like narratives and music, if poetry does not move its audience, it fails. Research by Wassiliwizky et al. (2017) supports the claim. They applied psychophysiology, neuroimaging, and behavioural responses to show that recited poetry can act as a powerful stimulus for eliciting peak emotional responses.
3. Poetry has positive effects on mental health.
Research has shown that writing and reading poetry can have a positive impact on mental health. One study found that writing poetry was associated with a decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety (Kaufman & Glass, 2009). Another study reported that reading poetry was associated with increased emotional regulation and a decrease in negative emotions (Mar, Oatley, Hirsh, dela Paz, & Peterson, 2006).
4. Poetry can provide comfort and boost mood during periods of trauma, stress, or grief.
– Writing poetry allows individuals to express their emotions in creative and meaningful ways. This can help you process your emotions and gain a better understanding of your feelings, leading to increased self-awareness and improved emotional regulation. ( Read my article – Write Your Way to Happiness: The Surprising Connection Between Writing and Mental Health)
– Reading poetry can provide individuals with a sense of validation and connection. By reading poems that describe similar emotions to what they are feeling, individuals can feel understood and less alone in their struggles.
– Poetry can also be used as a form of therapy.
5. Poetry can also be used as a form of therapy
In therapy, individuals explore and express their emotions in a safe and supportive environment. This form of therapy has been found to be effective in treating a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Hayes, 2012).
Poetry is a powerful tool that can be used to connect our emotions. Through writing, reading, speaking, and listening to poetry, individuals can explore their emotions in a more meaningful way. They gain increased self-awareness and improved emotional regulation. The mental health benefits of poetry are well documented, and poetry therapy is an effective form of treatment for a range of mental health issues. Overall, poetry can be a valuable tool for individuals seeking to improve their mental health and well-being.