During the past few months, I have met some pretty extraordinary women. Most of them are members of some new / different writing groups that I’ve attended. While my writing is fiction (except for this blog), the majority of the people I’ve met at these groups are writing memoirs. What stories they have to tell! All of them are writing as much to heal themselves as to help others. All of them reported that it was successful.
You might not have survived trauma as significant as some of my new writing friends. But who among us has not suffered some hurtful injustice? Even the best childhood was fraught with emotional injury, especially by today’s standards. The road to adulthood is a bumpy one and there have been decisions that we regret, losses we’ve endured and low moments along the way. We’d all like a do-over, but that’s impossible. Or is it? Why not rewrite your life with a new ending?!
Let’s not forget the good things! No matter what’s happening in your life, you can always find something for which to be grateful. It only takes a few minutes a day to write it down. Then, when you’re having a difficult time, it will be there for you to read again to remind yourself of the many blessings you’ve received.
Writing it all down is therapeutic. Best of all, it’s free. You can do it anywhere, anytime. Several studies have indicated that writing about traumatic, emotional and stressful events leads to improved physical and mental health. It can even help you sleep better.
Journaling gives you a safe outlet for emotional issues. It documents your life for future reference, whether you keep it to yourself or decide to share it. It gives you perspective and balance because, once you get it all out, you are free to move forward.
Many people keep a gratitude diary. Each day, they jot down something they appreciate or for which they are grateful. It helps keep them positive. In a world where we are constantly barraged with bad news and conflict, it’s a great way to focus on the good stuff.
You don’t have to be a strong writer. Unless you’re going to publish it, like on a blog site, there’s no need to edit or fret over punctuation and grammar. The end result is not the goal – it’s all about the process.
If you want to give journaling a try, think about how and where you want to record your thoughts, feelings and ideas. I’m pretty attached to my iPad and prefer to write and store entries electronically. There are some user friendly diary apps available, if that appeals to you. There is something to be said for the traditional pen and paper as meditation. It’s fun to choose from the variety of pretty, blank books available. Of course, there’s blogging! If you want to share your experiences with like-minded readers, there is a place for you online. There are a lot of opportunities for support and education on the Internet.
What will you write about?