Be Aware: Journaling Helps You

 

I wrote a piece last week titled “Beware: Artistry Kills.” Well, now I’m here to turn things around. Of what do I speak?

“There is research out of U.C Davis showing that just writing for a few minutes each day about things that you’re grateful for can dramatically boost your happiness and wellbeing.”

There was a piece in the Daily Informator recently called “A psychologist explains the best way to rewire your brain to let go of negative thoughts” in which social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood discusses the empirical proof that we as humans have a natural inclination to veer towards the negative, even when presented with positive information that overwhelms the negative.

You can watch the TEDx talk by clicking on the above link, but essentially Ms. Ledgerwood conducted an experiment and showed that we suck. Okay, I may be oversimplifying the results. But the point, I think, is that negative thoughts beget more negative thoughts, while positive thoughts can easily be turned to negative thoughts; unfortunately for us, it’s much harder to go from negative thoughts to positive ones.

Although that doesn’t seem like rocket science, her point is that it’s an instinctual trait (so don’t blame yourself for doing it), meaning the only way to make things better is to work at it. And the key? Writing, of course!

She suggests that everyone, but especially people who struggle with negative thoughts on a regular basis, start a gratitude journal. The formula is quite simple: Jot down a thing or two about what you feel grateful for, and try to remember those things as you navigate your way through/around your day.

So, I’ll get the ball rolling on this one and hopefully inspire at least one other person to do the same thing.

I’m very grateful for all of my friends, but I am especially proud of my friend Maria A., who begins a new chapter of her life journey today. She is returning to her new-old home of Mexico to start the exodus process. After four long years of endless hurricanes (literally), she’s found the strength to be grateful for her own experience and know that it’s time to move on. Where that will take her is still up in the air, though I know she’ll conquer whatever mountains she faces along the way and vanquish any unforeseen demons she encounters. As she likes to say, no matter how challenging the circumstances, “Follow your bliss, yo!”

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Be Aware: Journaling Helps You

  1. Katherine

    I was doing some journaling just now and pondering its purpose and value, when i paused to check my Reader — and there this was. Great encouragement — and also beneficial for discoveries beyond trying to outweigh the negative with the positive.

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