Just write it down

Have you ever felt off but just couldn’t quite figure out why? Not coming down with a cold, but off your game, listless, directionless, and unsure of which action to take next?

Perhaps, like me, your first sign that something isn’t right appears in your body. Maybe your throat feels tight, you’ve got butterflies in your belly, or it feels slightly difficult to breathe.

I felt that way this morning. I was driving home after a wonderful morning at a local women’s networking meeting, and wondering why I felt off. It was a beautiful and sunny day. My daughter was being looked after for the entire morning and I didn’t have to be home for another hour and a half or so.

And yet, my chest was tight. I felt anxious and unsure. I couldn’t decide what to do with the time I had left.

So, I stopped, found a quiet place and pulled out my journal and a pen.

Then I sat and wrote about my morning.

I’ve written in a journal since I was about eight or nine years old. For the past five years or so, I’ve rarely been without my journal and a pen. I make sure my journal fits whatever purse I’m carrying (or that my purse fits the journal!), and that I always have a pen.

And within two short pages of writing, I’d figured out what was wrong. I traced the thought patterns and things that I’d been saying to myself in my head. I discovered all of the shoulds that I was telling myself throughout the morning. I had completely stressed myself out about all the things I thought I should be doing with my time but wasn’t doing.

Then, I was able to let it all go. To change my focus to what I was grateful for. To regroup and clearly decide what it was I wanted to do, and what would be the best use of my time.

Writing things down can bring you greater clarity and focus to your day. It can illuminate large, emotional issues, or simply be a way to “download” some of the millions of things floating around in your brain. Even simply writing a to-do list on paper can be extremely effective when you’re feeling stressed.

If you don’t have a journal or notebook already, I encourage you to give it a try! Perhaps it sounds archaic in this electronic age, but it really works. Just write it down and see what happens.

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