Did you keep a journal or notebook as a child? Lots of kids do, even if just to scribble random thoughts or to draw little pictures of the world around them. For most of us, we simply stopped writing down our thoughts and dreams as we became busy with day-to-day life.
It might be time to pick up a little notebook and a favourite pen and jot down your innermost thoughts.
What is expressive writing?
Expressive writing means to put your thoughts into the written word. You can use a computer or the traditional journal and pen. You don’t need to limit yourself to writing full, complete sentences. Short notes, thoughts, words, impressions, or even drawings and sketches count.
Expressive writing, also known as therapeutic writing, has been found to be beneficial for mental and physical health. A recent study examined participants who tried to alleviate their anxiety about speaking in front of people using expressive writing.
The scientists found that expressive writing did reduce anxiety in the test group using reappraisal. Reappraisal, in this case, meant that the participants imagined the immediate speaking engagement and wrote about it. While more work is needed to fully understand what is happening in our brains, expressive writing has the potential to decrease anxiety (Wang, 2015).
Self-reflecting through writing is good for you
Sometimes, it’s hard to look in the mirror and admit your faults. It can also be hard to admit when you are doing something right, or when you are doing a great job. You will probably find that you are a lot more honest with yourself on paper.
The words you write aren’t for anyone but you, and you’ll be amazed at how freeing writing down your troubles, worries, and doubts can be. Self-reflection offers you the opportunity to really learn from something that has happened, and in turn, increase your own performance and knowledge.
You don’t have to limit your writing to yourself, though. Try to find opportunities to thank others, and do so in writing instead of a text or call. Consider even sending a note through the mail service. This personal touch goes a long way in showing people how much you appreciate them.
Understanding yourself is key
to finding the balance in your life
Finding the balance between work life, home life, and everything in between is challenging. Maintaining all aspects of your health can also be difficult when you are juggling so many different tasks. Slowing down and taking a moment to reflect on your day can reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Jotting down your notes and ideas and hopes and dreams is an opportunity for you to process all the aspects of your life.
The can help you improve your performance as a leader in this Imagination Age. Being self-aware and understanding who you are, will help you discover your strengths and accentuate them. You can also build up your weaknesses and increase your mindfulness to train your brain to listen and learn from your inner thoughts.
So, grab a little journal. Get a pen in a wacky colour. Grab a seat in the grass under the tree and release your worries to paper.
Wang, F., Wang, C., Yin, Q., Wang, K., Li, D., Mao, M., Zhu, C., Huang, Y. (2015). Reappraisal writing relieves social anxiety and may be accompanied by changes in frontal alpha asymmetry. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1604. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01604