the art of life
and writing

WRITING FOR SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL LITERACY, SELF-DEVELOPMENT, REFLECTION, AND SOUL-TENDING.

Minneapolis, Minnesota | theartoflifeandwriting@gmail.com

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Writing “is a matter of necessity and that you write to save your life is really true and so far it’s been a very sturdy ladder out of the pit.” -Alice Walker
 

services

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professional development for schools and educators

As today's scholars face a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, (VUCA) world, shouldering increasing stress, anxiety and depression, we are learning the importance and necessity of explicitly teaching social/emotional skills crucial to academic performance and life success. 

Writing is a powerful practice that builds emotional intelligence, critical thinking, deep reflection, empathy, and literacy development.

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professional development for social services/mental health professionals/organizations

Writing is a powerful mindfulness-based practice and contemplative literary art that helps us process traumatic and life-changing events, gain clarity and enhance motivation, release toxic emotions and thoughts, improve our mental, emotional, and in turn, our physical health, reduce stress, understand ourselves within the context of our lives, engage in self-reflection, and practice creative visualization. 

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innovative curriculum design for social/emotional literacy and leadership development

I create and teach powerful research-based writing curricula designed to cultivate reflection, empathy, metacognition, critical thinking, health, wellness and healing, personal leadership, empowerment, inspiration, literacy development, and transformation for all types, ages, cultures, and inclinations of people and organizations.

I work with clients to customize curricula based on their community's needs and goals.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

the power of writing

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE WRITE ABOUT OUR LIVES?
RESEARCH CONSISTENTLY AND STRONGLY SUGGESTS:
literacy development

Writing about our lives cultivates writing fluency, voice, reflective expression, and eloquence--higher-level writing skills that can only be learned in the doing.

depression and anxiety management

Depression and generalized anxiety tend to decrease in the weeks and months after writing about our thoughts, feelings, and lives. 

social and behavioral health

When we write about our lives, we develop our self-knowledge and compassion by listening deeply to and honoring our inner selves. As a result of increased self-understanding, we are more likely and better able to reach out and connect with others. 

physical health

Writing about emotional events in our lives increases immune function and positively affects the autonomic nervous system.

academic achievement

Writing our thoughts and feelings lowers the affective filter and improves working memory, creating space to take in and process new information. 

stress reduction

Writing about our thoughts, feelings, and emotions significantly reduces stress.

personal leadership development
Writing about our lives gives us power over our narratives. Though we cannot control what happens to us, through the art of writing, we can slow and control our responses. When we take up the pen and take responsibility for our lives, we begin to co-create our stories with intention, clarity, and wisdom.

everyone benefits from writing about their lives

Individuals across educational, linguistic and cultural variances benefit from writing about their lives. 

 
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about

Janna Brayman, M.A.T.
writer. master teacher. curriculum designer. inspirationist

Writing saved my life. When I was in college and the world came crashing down, as most of our worlds will at sometime or another, I wrote. About nothing. About everything. When it all fell apart, it was the pen that held me to the ground and brought me to my truth.
 

Because of the profound and mysterious effect writing has had on my life, I have spent over two decades exploring what happens mentally, emotionally, physically, behaviorally, socially, and academically when we write about our lives.

 

I have worked with adolescents and adults struggling with anxiety, depression, poverty, homelessness, addiction, as well as aspiring youth writers, social service and mental health professionals, K-12 scholars, undergraduates, educators, parents, refugees, immigrants, youth workers, and everyday people in my community of north Minneapolis.
 

My clients include: Minneapolis Public Schools, Hamline University's School of EducationMinnesota Transitions Charter School and PEASE Academy, Regions Hospital, Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs, Minnesota Social Services AssociationSimpson Housing, St. Anne's Place, Blooma, and Free Arts Minnesota 

I also teach Personal Leadership at the University of Minnesota and youth writers at the Loft Literary Center. My writing has been featured in Mpls/St.Paul Magazine, MPR’s Public Insight Network, Minnesota Women’s Press, and Minneapolis Star Tribune and I have written three books and am drafting my fourth, The Art of Life and Writing.

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I am a humanist who believes deeply in the power of our stories. My mission is, through the art of writing, to launch people into their highest possibilities, inspiring them to be who they are meant to be and give the gifts they are meant to give this world.
 
 

my work

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I create powerful research-and-evidence-based writing curricula 
designed to evoke reflection, mindfulness, critical thinking, health, wellness and healing, personal leadership, empowerment, inspiration, literacy development, and transformation for all types, ages, cultures, and inclinations of people and organizations.
My work is informed by 
an extensive and ongoing review of the research and literature on the effects of writing about our lives; a study I designed and conducted exploring the effects of writing on stress, anxiety, and self-development for urban teenage mothers; over two decades of experience writing with a vast range of populations; and three decades of a personal writing practice.
This unique synthesis of research and experience has taught me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, writing about our lives-our thoughts, feelings, and stories-reduces stress and anxiety while allowing a space for literacy development, deep reflection, critical thinking, and soul-tending.

 

what people say


Occupational Therapist,
Regions Hospital

Your positive attitude and excellent presentation skills breathed life into this presentation.  It was wonderful. I feel like I have just obtained an amazing tool to use in my work with others, but also for my own well being!  After doing this in class, I feel so relaxed!


Undergraduate Student
University of Minnesota

 

Janna was so inspirational, caring, genuine, and real that it really changes how you view the world. She allowed for our thinking to flourish and for us to grow as individuals.

Teen Parent
Minneapolis Public Schools

This class is good. It helped me relieve some stress of my body. I never used to be able to sit in my chair and writing this long. Now when I go home, I can sit for hours and write, write, write. It’s an easy way to say what’s on your mind on paper if you can’t tell someone directly. You as a person put an impact on my life to be able to write what’s going on in [my] life.”

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