Every Monday I take care of my sister’s four year-old twins while she works. Then, as repayment, every Thursday she takes Isla and Toby for a few hours. It works well for both of us and the kids get to spend lots of time together. Win-win-win.
Last Thursday I took myself off to have a coffee and read the paper. It was Capital-L Lovely. But the real value of it came when I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the health benefits of daily writing.
I’ve long been a journaller and would swear up and down that writing in a journal for 10 minutes before sleep helps me to:
- fall asleep quickly
- sleep very restfully
- wake up feeling positive
Countless times I would scrawl out line after line of drivel. It would be nothing of any importance. Maybe what I did that day. What I’m thining about. How I’m feeling. All pretty standard.
Then, all of a sudden, this issue, this problem, this thing that had been bothering me would explode onto the page and I would struggle to keep hand and pencil moving fast enough.
It was extraordinary.
This article in the paper spoke about the mental health benefits of 10-15 minutes of daily writing, but even more fascinatingly, the physical health benefits.
“It is claimed, for example, expressive writing can help control cancer-related pain, poor sleeping patterns, lung functioning in asthmatic patients and severity of rheumatoid arthritis.
It can also improve mood, liver function, immunity, blood pressure and memory. Results are most obvious four to six months after the initial writing episodes.”(Read more here.)
So my suggestion to those of you who need to find some inner-peace, some zen, some simplicity in body and mind – write. Daily.
- 10-15 minutes. That’s it. You can find that amount of time if you look hard enough.
- Try to do it first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
- Just let it flow. Don’t censor it. Don’t second-guess it. Just let your hand continue to write.
- If you have nothing at all to write, then write that. “I have nothing to write. I have nothing to write. I have nothing…” And I guarantee you that thoughts will make themselves known very soon after.
You can do it anywhere and it takes minimal equipment, yet you will almost undoubtedly feel freer, clearer and calmer. Just give it a week and see. Then let me know – I’d be fascinated.