Five ways to Happiness: Step two

Five Ways to Create Happiness

Number Two

I never really know, truly, what I am thinking until I write it down.

When I was younger I used to wander off as far from the house, as the housing estate where we lived allowed, with some bits of paper and pencil and write words. I didn’t always know what I was writing or what it meant, but I felt better afterwards. Sometimes my mother was so impressed with what I wrote that she entered it into childhood poetry competitions and I won!

I was only in primary school at that time, yet I hid myself in nature and put pen to paper. Of course once I hit my heady, slightly chaotic and rebellious adolescence, no one was permitted to see my journals, so many dark thoughts, so much figuring out where the anger was coming from, much convulsion on page after page.

When I came round to doing my leaving cert and going to college, away from home, a lot of personal writing stopped. I was working all day long, writing too but essays, sometimes on topics I had no interest in and my pencil and mind was worn. So journaling stopped. (For a time).

It began again, however some years later in a more aware, purposeful manner.
I highly highly recommend journaling as a way to gain insight to your inner thoughts, your unheard mantras, your burning desires, your untapped ability.

Free writing or stream of consciousness writing can reveal so much of what you have not been listening in for. There are several reasons for this, 1. You repeat the thoughts so often in your head that you can’t understand the meaning anymore and 2. The constant babbling gets put to the back of your brain where it is stored as ‘useless chatter’ not required for daily living.

But the truth is: IT IS REQUIRED. It is necessary to listen to that broken record. Perhaps it contains the key to your happiness. Perhaps it will simply reveal to you something that you need to change.

Writing accesses your left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational,” says Maud Purcell, a psychotherapist and journaling expert. “While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to do what it does best, i.e. create, intuit and feel. In this way, writing removes mental blocks and allows us to use more of our brainpower to better understand ourselves and the world around us.”

There is no point reading this article and thinking either a. Oh yeah nice idea I don’t have time or b. That won’t work.

You really have to pick up the pen and do it. I like to forget about touchscreen, laptops, find myself in my favourite café or a relaxed cosy room in at home, fresh pot of tea or cuppa in hand and see what pours on to the page. There’s a dopamine release.

In the book the Artist’s way, the author Julia Cameron, recommends an extremely useful practice called ‘morning pages’ . Plenty of non new age, successful corporate people are genuinely hooked on her method.

You commit to writing three pages each day, every day that noone has any access to. You can put them in a manila folder and not let a soul see them. They don’t have to be well written or have a purpose, a beginning or an end, they can be what you had for breakfast, but you have to write the three pages every day.

If nothing else, thoughts you have been purposely ignoring or your persistent way of life will be disclosed after, for some, a number of days, for others, a number of weeks. But it is a game changer. Perhaps you paint, sing, act, play guitar, dance, play football and that is your outlet. Well make this your additional one and see how it goes.

Your creative spark can actually be reignited simply by doing this and will bring joy and revelation into your life. You must be strict with yourself and commit to doing them every morning, filling the three pages. Whether it’s mindless drivel or things you plan to do, or what you believe in or wish you believed in,whatever it is : Write it down. There’s no shame in trivialities, after a while there’s a good chance a real insight or breakthrough will occur.

With meditation, I think a few minutes a day is a fantastic start. With journaling it is really excellent to write the 3 pages, every single day, it doesn’t matter what blurts out onto the page as such, what is important is that you write and continue the writing.

Let me know how you get on and as always any questions shout.
With writing and creative wishes,
Helen

I walk out of a poem a different person than the one who walked in.

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