A poem can deepen your concentration, soothe and stimulate.
Poetry has been a healing tool since the shamans, who chanted poetry for the wellbeing of the tribe. In modern times, Freud recognized the genuis of poetry: ‘Not I, but the poet discovered the unconscious,’ he said.
Today, people read and write poetry especially during contemplative periods of their lives, crises, or times of great excitement--when mourning or falling in love.
If you are interested in writing poetry, for healing or selfexpression, try these tips:
● Create some time alone and write for five minutes continuously. Don’t stop to think, write whatever comes into your head.
● An hour later, go through what you have written and underline anything interesting.
● If you’re searching for inspiration, pick a colour and list every association that springs to mind.
● Or try thinking about how you would like things to be. Write a list in the form: I wish I had, I wish
I could tell, I wish…
Many people who write poetry spend less time reading it. Find poems and poets who move you and you find that your relationship with them changes over time. Lines from a poem will come into your mind in unexpected moments, with new meanings.
Read poetry aloud to yourself, or to loved ones. Tape a poem to your refrigerator wall or post electronically on your computer screen. Send friends poems by email. You can take time in a dull day to deepen and intensify your appreciation of the ordinary. On a stressful day, you can find a moment of peace.
Temma Ehrenfeld is a writer and editor. As a journalist, she covers health, psychology, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Reuters, Newsweek International, Newsweek Japan, Scientific American MIND, Psychologies, Fortune, Ms., Bottom Line Personal, The Hudson Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, Prism International, and other publications. She lives in Manhattan.
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