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Write The Words You Can’t Say

August 16, 2017 Nicole Lyons

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.

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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 i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology 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.

Achieve better Balance  Ever wondered how you can improve the sense of balance? New advances from  different scientific fields are helping us better understand how our brains and  bodies function and the incredible impact they have on the way we lead.  Learn how our i4 Neuroleader Program can help develop your personal leadership. Download Program Guide

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

Nicole Lyons

Nicole Lyons

Nicole is the About my Brain Institute's researcher and blogger. As a writer and science educator she is passionate about sharing scientific knowledge to refute ignorance and misconceptions. Nicole is also a devoted wife and mother to three children, two cats, a dog and frog.