Poetry—it uses few words but expresses so much. There is beauty in that, so it’s no surprise that many people use poetry as a form of stress relief. Spoken word performances, poetry slams, and other readings are enjoyed at college campuses, community centers, and other gatherings across the world. With April being both Stress Awareness Month and National Poetry Month, it’s the perfect time for us to write and/or read poetry to relieve our stress.
Poetry is a Stress Reliever
We live in a bustling world that keeps our stress levels high. Slowing down and reading or writing can be very therapeutic. In fact, workers in some of the most stressful professions in our society turn to poetry for solace and stress relief. Listed below are just two poetry/art projects that are helping doctors and veterans reduce stress.
Poems for Doctors
Being a doctor is a terribly stressful job—saving lives and giving devastating diagnoses can make one wary, especially for new doctors who are just getting accustomed to the pace. That’s where Poems for Doctors comes in. This project is a collaboration between Scottish Poetry Library and the School of Medicine at the University of St. Andrews. The project publishes short video readings of poems featured in the anthology Tools of the Trade: Poems for New Doctors. Along with video readings, the project also hosts discussions in a special Facebook group.
This project uses poetry to facilitate communication between new doctors about their stressful experiences. It also helps them build a supportive community. And while this project is specifically for doctors graduating in Scotland, doctors everywhere can benefit from them.
Stress (specifically Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is fairly common among our military veterans. They face a heavy burden on our behalf—training hard and fighting overseas is incredibly stressful. Fortunately, organizations such as Warrior Writers help veterans use art to work through their stress.
The Warrior Writers program is a national non-profit organization based in Philadelphia. This program uses creative workshops to help military veterans and service members heal through artistic expression. Poetry is a part of the healing process, but they also offer painting and photography workshops as well.
You Too Can Be a Poet
Poetry can be intimidating for beginner writers, but it doesn’t have to be. Contrary to popular belief, poetry doesn’t have to rhyme or have a certain number of stanzas. You can write freeform and get your emotions out. It’s very therapeutic. The Internet has a plethora of resources for writing poetry for stress relief.
If you would like to read poems to help relieve your stress, check out poets.org, the website for the Academy of American Poets. It has an archive of poems by various poets on a wide range of subjects. Once you find your new favorite poet go out and by one of their books and keep it by your bed. Their work can help calm you down before you go to sleep.Tags: mindful living, national poetry month, poetry reduces stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, stress awareness month