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

YOURS (UK) - - Contents - By Gabrielle Al­bert

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

and Ex­er­cis­ing, eat­ing well should top get­ting enough sleep

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.

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