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  • Jule Dixon

The Art of Haiku: A Creative Approach to Reducing Stress and Finding Joy


Haikus are a form of Japanese poetry that consists of three lines with a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. While they may seem simple, they can have a profound impact on reducing stress and improving happiness.
Research has shown that engaging in creative activities can have a positive impact on mental health. A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that engaging in creative activities, such as writing, can lead to increased positive emotions, reduced negative emotions, and decreased levels of stress. Writing haikus can be a form of creative expression that can provide these benefits.

One reason haikus can be beneficial for stress reduction is that they encourage mindfulness. The process of crafting a haiku requires you to slow down and pay attention to the present moment. This can help you shift your focus away from stressful thoughts and into the present moment, reducing stress and increasing feelings of calm.

Additionally, writing haikus can provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. The act of creating something can boost self-esteem and increase feelings of happiness. This can be especially important during times of stress or anxiety when it may be difficult to find joy in daily activities.

To begin incorporating haikus into your routine, set aside a few minutes each day to write. Here is a suggested routine for making haikus:
1. Find a quiet space where you can focus without distractions.
2. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself and calm your mind.
3. Choose a topic or theme for your haiku. This can be anything that inspires you, such as nature, a memory, or an emotion.
4. Write the first line of your haiku, focusing on the 5-syllable structure.
5. Write the second line of your haiku, focusing on the 7-syllable structure.
6. Write the final line of your haiku, again focusing on the 5-syllable structure.
7. Read your haiku out loud to yourself and appreciate what you have created.

While writing haikus may not be a cure-all for stress and anxiety, it can be a helpful tool in managing these feelings. Taking a few minutes each day to focus on creative expression and mindfulness can have a significant impact on overall well-being.

Sources:
Maynard, S. (2010). The Effects of Creative Writing on Mental Health: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Poetry Therapy, 23(3), 143-154. doi:10.1080/08893675.2010.496246
Rogers, J. M., Mallory, A. B., & Goldstein, A. L. (2019). The effects of a 4-week creative writing intervention on participants' depressive symptoms, well-being, and goal attainment. Journal of Positive Psychology, 15(5), 591-600. doi:10.1080/17439760.2019.1579715
University of Massachusetts Amherst. (2018, September 4). Writing therapy is a low-cost, easy intervention that can improve quality of life for cancer patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2023, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180904080630.htm

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