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Using Poetry To Combat Anxiety

  Throughout our blogs, we’ve offered many examples of ways people can cope with daily anxiety. Everyone, of course, must find their own outlet, but we do enjoy sharing successful methods that have worked for others. One technique (that was recently highlighted by concerns poetry and the therapeutic effect of reading and writing upbeat affirmations.   Journaling is always recommended when it comes to emotional stress. Putting your thoughts to paper can help outline your struggle and work through possible solutions. But adding a bit of creativity into that writing can be extremely helpful too. Jotting down a simple poem can shift your focus away from your daily stresses and create a soothing effect. The same goes for lyrics and original songs (for those who are musically inclined).   On the flip side, it can be just as effective to read others’ poetry writing. Concise, upbeat messages can quickly be turned into regular mantras, where you repeat the words in your head during a particularly bad day. Bustle themselves did a nice job of outlining this effect; which shouldn’t be a replacement for therapy, but rather an accompaniment.   “Poetry not substitute for mental health care, but it might help you slow down for a moment,” Bustle writer Kristian Wilson wrote. “Many are short enough to memorize, so you can repeat them as mantras if they do work for you.”   Bustle even went so far as to offer a few favorites, that can work especially well for people dealing with anxiety issues.   The poem Up-Hill by Christina Rossetti was singled out and is shared in full below…
Does the road wind up-hill all the way? 
Yes, to the very end. 
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? 
From morn to night, my friend. 
But is there for the night a resting-place? 
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. 
May not the darkness hide it from my face? 
You cannot miss that inn. 
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night? 
Those who have gone before. 
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight? 
They will not keep you standing at that door. 
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? 
Of labour you shall find the sum. 
Will there be beds for me and all who seek? 
Yea, beds for all who come.
As was May Perpetual Light Shine by Patricia Spears Jones.
We have encountered storms 
Perfect in their drench and wreck
Each of us bears an ornament of grief
A ring, a notebook, a ticket torn, scar
It is how humans know their kind—
What is known as love, what can become  
the heart’s food stored away for some future
Love remains a jewel in the hand, guarded
Shared fragments of earth & air   drift & despair.
We ponder what patterns matter other than moons and tides:
musical beats—rumba or waltz or cha cha cha
cosmic waves like batons furiously twirling
colors proclaiming sparkle of darkness
as those we love begin to delight
in the stars embracing
We certainly recommend reading the entire Bustle article for the full list of poems. And if you can, try to take some time and craft a few of your own. You’ll be amazed at how effective a process like this can be.

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