Do you know those days, when you are just walking around like a headless chicken? You know you have a million things to do, but you keep flicking between tasks in the name of multi-tasking and losing complete track of everything that you needed and wanted to achieve. Do you, like me, like to sit down for a moment, pour yourself a cuppa and put pen to paper?
I find it utter bliss to start my day with a cup of tea or coffee, my notebook and fountain pen and just write some things down. A to do list, a couple of random thoughts or ideas that I want to remember and do not have time to really explore right now… anything really. On the days that I take time to do just that, my head is more quiet, I feel more at peace, I am more effective during the day and typically feel much more calm and satisfied at the end of it all.
My partner had a hearty laugh at me when I drew up an elaborate schedule for the two weeks prior to us moving house. It included everything from when to pack and clean which room to what we were going to have for dinner. He may have thought it was a little over the top, but it helped me to calm my head down. All that information was swimming around in my mind, and I kept going over it, again and again and again. As soon as it was down on paper, I could stop running the list through in my head.
Putting pen to paper helps you turn down on the cacophony of your mind.
Do you want to know a secret? That does not only work with to do lists… It works for healing from trauma too.
Writing Quiets the Mind
When I remember something about my childhood, the story often keeps running through my mind. It sometimes leads to other memories being triggered, or even for fleas and allergies (behavioral triggers and redundant survival strategies) to pop up. I then need to override that mental programming with more rational thinking, which just adds to the noise. Plus, there are still the “normal voices” of running your life, trying to remember your mother-in-law’s birthday, remembering the neighbors had some medical tests to be done… Before you know it your head will feel ready to explode.
All that inner-monologue can really take its toll. I have spoken to survivors who developed quite severe physical manifestations of that erratic noise in their minds, like developing stress induced narcolepsy. Can you imagine that? You mind gets so loud, so overwhelmingly noisy that your body literally shuts itself down.
Now, if you do develop such symptoms, please do seek medical advice. Writing will help, but it is just an aid and no substitute for counseling or medication.
Where I have found that writing helps –especially when I first found out what was really going on– is that writing things down means you can let that story go. It creates room in your mind to process the memories, to make connection, to gain understanding of the influence your past has on your present. Writing helps you to stop “thinking in circles” and begin seeing the path more clearly.
I have been on this healing path for almost 5 years now, and I still write in my journal regularly. Especially when I experience great emotional breakthroughs, or the opposite- when I feel like I am utterly stuck and will never recover from the trauma.
No Need for Essays
In my book, Finding Your Wings, I talk about a 750 word minimum for journaling. When you are trying to make sense of something, when you are trying to make those connection and increase your understanding of the trauma and how is affected you… then YES! But if you are using writing -as I do often- to organize and quieten your mind? Sometimes 5 words is all it takes.
Yesterday I wrote in big capital letters: CAN IT BE NEXT WEEK ALREADY!!!! I was feeling so frustrated and impatient about life. Just screaming that at the Universe through my journal helped. I still want it to be next week, but some of the frustrated energy was released. That helped me get over myself, and get back to actually making sure this week goes off without a hitch (deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, in case you are wondering).
Ease Your Way Into Writing
Writing regularly helps.
Writing long form journal entries helps.
But, do you know what helps most of all? Having some fun with it. Don’t apply too much pressure. Write when it feels good, and you will begin to find that it starts feeling good more often.
if you want some support to get started on your journal for healing, join Write Your Happiness – a free 7 day introduction to journaling for emotional healing delivered straight to your inbox.