Take A Deep Breath and Write with Reza Gunawan

Written By
Annisa Puspa Andira

Edited By
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Photograph By
Fadhli Zaky

Illustration By
Abdurrahman Rabbani

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear; my courage is reborn,” said a young girl who is writing down her story about herself and what’s like to be hiding from NAZI’s cruelty in a diary that still being remarkable in the literature world. Despite her tragic yet inspiring story, what Anne Frank said about writing wasn’t an overstatement. Sometimes, there are times when you are trapped in your thoughts feeling unsettled what’s going to happen in the future and shaped a fear within yourself. It worsens when you are disappointed with any outcomes that you’ve had in your life, thinking that you are such a failure. So, rather than seeking help, you would be placed at never-ending cycles blaming yourself. And that eventually affect your mental conditions and slowly kills you. Therefore, it emphasizes how writing like Anne Frank actually did could be a way of self-healing. Observing how people tend to complicate things, sitting and writing your thoughts and burden also could be lifted and heals the scars inside yourself. And if you are wondering how, Reza Gunawan, a holistic health practitioner here could tell you the importance of expressive writing.

People tend to overlook mental health when the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second-highest cause of death and disability in the world. It is time to break the assumption that mental health is less important than physical health. In fact, mental and physical health has a strong relationship, as stated by Reza Gunawan in his blog. He explained that in medics, there is PNEI term (Psycho-Neuro-Endocrino-Immuno). It means when the thoughts and feelings had so much burdened by stress, there will be changes in the nerves and brain (neuro). Then the hormonal balance and the body glands function (endocrino) will be disrupted that ended up affecting the level of immunity (immuno).

Several studies and research strongly emphasize that there is a correlation between mental and physical health. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in the United States indicates that around 85% of all types of diseases have emotional elements. There’s more research from cell biologist, Bruce Lipton about genetics where he found that health is controlled by our perceptions and beliefs, not from our genes (DNA). Also, research for 30 years from Geerd Hamer, a German doctor where he found that every form of physical illness arises from traumatic life events that cause changes in the brain. These studies provide evidence that our minds have a significant influence on what is happening in the bodies.

Several studies and research strongly emphasize that there is a correlation between mental and physical health. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in the United States indicates that around 85% of all types of diseases have emotional elements. There’s more research from cell biologist, Bruce Lipton about genetics where he found that health is controlled by our perceptions and beliefs, not from our genes (DNA). Also, research for 30 years from Geerd Hamer, a German doctor where he found that every form of physical illness arises from traumatic life events that cause changes in the brain. These studies provide evidence that our minds have a significant influence on what is happening in the bodies.

Photo source: @rezagunawan

By providing a space to elaborate all the burdens inside, there's a hope that the load becomes lighter

Throughout the years, many methods were born to actualize the healing techniques where the harmony between body, mind, and spirit will be connected.  Through his profession as health practitioners, Reza found that one self-healing method that is easy to learn and can be applied by anyone which is expressive writing. This method was inspired by a book he read, ‘Opening Up by Writing It Down: How to Express Emotional Pain Improving Health and Eases’ by James W. Pennebaker and Joshua M. Smyth. The writing was comprehensive, and the method also was similar to what Reza has encountered in holistic health practice. Research on expressive writing as a self-healing method has also been conducted in healing mental conditions with positive results. That is what leads Reza not to doubt and encouraged him to share expressive writing method to the public after requesting James W. Pennebacker’s direct permission.

To understand more about expressive writing, you need to know first that expressive comes from the word ‘express’ means to convey—a thought or feeling in words or by gestures and conduct. So, expressing whatever it is in our mind becomes the first instinct when you encounter any problem. However, sometimes you choose to bury it, assuming that it is pointless. You are scared if you reveal that on public, it might get you a lousy judgment or hurtful comments. Therefore, a blank piece of paper potentially is the right medium to express all the thoughts and emotions that you feel about the issues you have been dealing with.

Have you been in the right mind when problems burden you? Most likely not because that was the time your thoughts and emotions move quickly in mind. However, when you write to pour the burden out, you feel to force the mind to slow down and makes your brain to process. Then, when you write down the confusion, your thoughts seem to give a space for the explanation about what’s happened. By providing a space to elaborate all the burdens inside, there’s a hope that the load becomes lighter.

STEP TO STEP EXPRESSIVE WRITING

Notes

– Make sure when you’re writing, there’s no distraction
– Don’t hold your emotions while you’re writing. Let the anger released and the sadness fre

Without holding back, lettingyourself in pouring everything out are the essence of expressive writing. Try and prove it yourself how it can help your mind and body!

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