How Mental Health Poetry Can Help You, Starting Today

Jordan Brown

I don’t know when I started to call myself a poet.

It’s a strange title to attach to oneself. At least, I think it is.

And I’m still not sure what it even means to be a poet.

But there is something I know for sure.

Poetry has been a useful tool for improving my mental health.

I’ll explain why below — and how you can use mental health poetry to your advantage.

Is There Such a Thing as Mental Health Poetry?

One day I just tried it.

I enjoyed writing so I figured I might enjoy writing poetry. What I discovered is that I did. Quite a bit. I even published a mental health poetry book.

Writing poetry has boosted my mental health. And I think it lends itself very well to working through feelings that are lingering beneath the surface. It’s a way to tap into the unconscious and bring thoughts and feelings to conscious awareness.

This is why I think mental health and poetry can be synonymous; they are both free-flowing and amorphous. They ride the waves of whatever you’re experiencing at the moment. There are no “real” rules.

What is mental health exactly? What is poetry exactly? I think that when we try to define them in precise terms we needlessly limit them.

Mental health can be poetry and poetry can be mental health.

Poetry Can Be Short

Here’s something I wrote this morning. I don’t know why I did it. It just came out.

What if today
You stood up
And you said
I will do the things that scare me
I will go where my heart knows I should
I will be the person I’m scared I can’t become

It’s a short poem that meant something to me. I shared it on Twitter, and it seemed to mean something to others as well.

I think we sometimes forget that we don’t need to write our memoirs to have an impact. We don’t need a 10-page report when just one page will do just fine.

Because poetry doesn’t need to be long, it does well to boil life down to the essentials, the root causes.

And that’s mental health as well. What’s most meaningful here? Why is this emotion rising to the top and not something else? Emotion is energy in motion. Mental health is thoughts and feelings in flight. These words aren’t precise, but I’m confident you know what I mean.

Learn to Write Your Own Mental Health Poetry

You can do this, too. You can write mental health poetry.

Poetry doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it’s better if you let the imperfections shine through for once. Poetry cuts to the chase. It tells it as it is.

Here’s How to Write Your Own Poetry

Find a quiet space

Or any place that allows you to reflect and contemplate your life.

It’s important that you remove yourself from the needless busyness of life. You’re going to want to tap into something different than what you’re exposed to all of the time. Change it up.

Write or type without judgment

Not judging yourself is the important part. We do this all the time. We second-guess our lives for most of our lives, so why not give yourself some time to just be free in a creative process? Being in a generative nature is good for you. It lets you come alive.

And then see what happens 

It’s completely up to you to surface whatever needs to be surfaced. The more you write or type without limiting yourself, the more you will find the words that need to come out. Your body and mind already know what they need to be healthy, so let a natural healing process take place.

When you write your own poetry, you give yourself permission to tap into your mental health. It’s something that can’t easily be described. You have to experience it for yourself.

All that I know is that words have the power to shape meaning.

Your meaning is in the unhindered words you let loose.

They’re linked to your mental health, and they’re linked to who you are.