Put pen to paper for a quick pick-me-up
In need of a quick pick-me-up? Put pen to paper and write yourself happier in minutes, with our expert advice
Great for boosting your mood
If you’re feeling down in the dumps, picking up a pen is a great way to lift your spirits. “Writing is more powerful than we often give it credit for,” says Sarah Salway, novelist and writing teacher (www.sarahsalway.co.uk). “It can really transform our mood. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, try noting down your thoughts in a journal. Begin by writing the phrase ‘Right now, I feel…’ and set a timer for six minutes. Make sure to keep your pen moving – even if it feels like you’re writing gobbledygook. This technique can help to clear your mind and produce some insights.” Writing a gratitude diary is another beneficial mood-boosting tool. “Write down three things or people that you’re grateful for every day and why you feel fortunate to have them in your life,” says Sarah. It’ll help relieve stress by highlighting the good things in your life. “Or write a list of 50 small things you can do to make a difference to others,” says Sarah. Planning good deeds can provide a positive inspiration for you to move forward.
Great for processing trauma
Talking about trauma can be helpful, but it can also be a challenging and daunting experience. Writing can provide a great alternative form of therapy if you’re not ready to share with others.
“For many who have post-traumatic stress, writing provides the opportunity to address their innermost fears and to explore the impact it has had on their lives,” says Liz Mistry, novelist and PhD student. “It can give a voice to fears and a sense of empowerment by taking control of thoughts and emotions.” That said, it is important a to write about trauma in way that doesn’t reinforce
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But did wellbeing checklist. our just ten you know that taking to put pen minutes out of your day your mind and to paper could do body the world of good?
it. “Create a safe space,” says Sarah. “Make sure you are in control by setting a time limit and taking the time to reflect on what you’ve written. You become the one in charge when you’ve got a pen.”
Great for improving memory
Typing on keyboards and smartphones seems to be the preferred choice of note making today. But, according to a study published in the Psychological Science journal, using a pen and paper can help to boost memory function. “Recalling and writing down memories is a little like going to the gym,” says Sarah. “It exercises certain muscles, which begin to grow stronger with time.”
The very nature of handwriting means you have to organise your thoughts which, in turn, affects your ability to recall and interpret information.
Great for focusing thoughts
Do you ever find yourself with hundreds of thoughts whizzing around your head all at once? Like a computer hard drive, our brains can become overloaded. Whether it’s creating a simple to-do list, or using a few sticky notes, physically transferring your thoughts onto paper can be a comforting and visual way to make sense of them. It stops your mind from becoming bogged down and allows you to work through your thoughts methodically.