Saturday, January 24, 2015

writing it down

Now that we've been THINKING about our health goals, dreaming of how life might be when we feel better, imagining what we can do when we're not weighed down... I want to suggest one more thing before we actually begin:
I know, I know, I hate "journaling" too! Really? Having to write down every little thing, every day, blah, blah, blah...  But hear me out. I'm not suggesting that you have to write the great American novel every day. Not even a whole page, or even a whole paragraph, or even whole sentences!

What I'm suggesting is that you make notes on how you feel today. Just a few notes. My notes for today might look something like this:
Read blog today. Thinking about feeling better. Really want to feel better. Back hurts. Eyes dry. Ate too much today and still craving sweets (nothing new there). Tired. Can I really feel better? I want to!
Before we begin, this is especially important, as it will be a good measurement for comparison to how you will feel differently in the future. Right now, take a moment and write down your version of how you feel today. You choose whether you set pen to paper, or finger to tablet, or fingertips to keyboard. However you want, whether anyone else ever sees it, that's all up to you. Some days you will only be able to get out a few words. Other days you may be verbose! Some days you'll forget. That's all good!

In a NY Times blog article "Writing your Way to Happiness," Tara Parker-Pope recommends writing as a way to recreate your own personal narrative. She quotes the expert on the psychology of expressive writing:
“The idea here is getting people to come to terms with who they are, where they want to go,” said Dr. Pennebaker. “I think of expressive writing as a life course correction.”
She writes of one client who came to see herself more honestly through writing:
In one example, a woman named Siri initially wrote in her “old story” that she wanted to improve her fitness, but as the primary breadwinner for her family she had to work long hours and already felt guilty about time spent away from her children.  
With prompting, she eventually wrote a new story, based on the same facts but with a more honest assessment of why she doesn’t exercise. “The truth is,” she wrote, “I don’t like to exercise, and I don’t value my health enough. I use work and the kids to excuse my lack of fitness.” ....
Like Siri, I have numerous explanations for why I don’t find time for exercise. But once I started writing down my thoughts, I began to discover that by shifting priorities, I am able to make time for exercise. 
You are already THINKING about shifting your priorities in order to feel better. In addition to THINKING, now add WRITING to your journey towards feeling better. Over the years, I've written my own notes only sporadically. But now I can look back and remember where I've been, and know how far I've come, and see where I'm still "stuck." I'm grateful that I took the time to write back then. Give your future self this gift; write today!

No comments:

Post a Comment