Aunty finds this one a little tricky though I do write everything down. I admit to being a list-maker. I find it very motivating to think about what I need to achieve in the day, week, month, write the list then cross off activities as they are completed. I have been known to write things on my list that I have already done just so I can cross them off. My mum writes in her diary every day so she knows what happened years ago. Her self-discipline in writing every day has become an enjoyable habit. I am trying to write this blog every day and am really just getting back in the groove. Sometimes I feel a little unmotivated knowing that the words probably won’t be read by anyone else. But then I remember that writing is therapeutic for me. It doesn’t matter if no one will read the blog. In fact, writing offers a confidential means to share your innermost and private feelings. No one ever needs to read these.
The benefits of writing down ideas and feelings to capture what has happened are many. Firstly, writing helps us remember what we were doing and feeling weeks, months and even years ago. If we apply the ‘this too will pass’ thought, it is wonderful to go back to times when life seemed awful then realise that once few days or weeks have elapsed, those feelings of hopelessness evaporated into the ether. I remember I was having a really tough time at work with one particular team member. I wrote all about how he had yelled at customers and then turned his fury on me. At the time, this situation was the most important event in my life, eclipsing everything else. I was so upset, wondering how I would get through this time. So we fired him. The issue had suddenly become so trite. This too will pass and journaling proves it.
Secondly, ‘a problem shared, is a problem solved’ – I think that is the saying. Writing down life’s concerns can feel that you are sharing the issue with a valued friend and confidant in the here and now. Writing brings you into the current moment and requires you are wholly present. The sharing can offer clarity around what is the crux of the matter and so focuses your attention on developing possible solutions. This clarity then brings objectivity as you view the issue from all sides. And, most beautifully, this objectivity helps to reduce stress and improves mood. The reduced stress and resulting happiness may improve your sleep and overall well-being. When you include writing down all the wonderful things in your life you are grateful for, positive dreams, goals and plans of attack, the health benefits explode through the roof.
Thirdly, writing helps you capture ideas, required activities and areas of focus. If I have ideas racing around in my brain, I find it impossible to sleep. I lie there, eyes wide open, going over and over the wonderful ideas that have just appeared. I know that if I don’t write these down, they will have disappeared by morning. So I have to get up out of bed, wander into the office and start writing. Remind me to sleep with a notepad by the bed.
Fourthly, practicing regular writing and journaling can help to improve intelligence, writing and communication skills. You do not need to write a novel. In fact, start with three or four words to describe what you experienced today that you are grateful for. I’ve recently returned to my karate dojo after nearly seven years away. And yes, I have forgotten everything. But I am so grateful that my legs can still move adequately and I love being back. My journal for today might just read, “I love karate.” It will be interesting to revisit this entry in one, ten, twenty years time as I reflect on how life was for me today.
Take time to journal.