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Write to the heart of the matter

September 9, 2017

When we write we are – literally – in touch with the mark, the word. This feels powerful, as it is in doing that we understand – on a deeper than thinking level…[Writing] links our inner and outer lives and our sensual and emotional and intellectual worlds: Hand, Heart and Head.

–Ann Hechle, Calligrapher 

 

 

With computers carried around in our pockets and coding the new calligraphy, many argue that writing will soon be redundant, extinct even. Yet soaring stationary sales in the digital age suggest that we have not grown out of love with pen and paper. In fact, Psychological research has shown that writing can bestow a range of cognitive and therapeutic benefits.

 

Connecting with what you feel, not just what you think

 

It is not uncommon for people to be out of touch with their feelings, suppressing or avoiding them before they later come back to bite them. Expressive writing- literally writing as we feel- is a healthy method of ‘letting go’ and we can connect to parts of experiences from which the narrative (language) parts of our brains may have disconnected (the emotional/feeling and language parts of our brain are linked, but also separate). Expressive writing, or journaling, has been shown to be a useful technique in alleviating bodily tension and post-traumatic stress responses.

 

Writing is proven to focus attention and aid memory

 

Writing stimulates what is known as the Reticular Activating System (RAS) at the base of the brain, which acts as a filter to help us focus attention on the information being processed. This sharpening of focus aids the memory of what we have written; research has shown that students who wrote notes had enhanced cognitive processing and memory over the longer-term when compared to students who typed notes on a laptop.

 

Writing helps make sense of situations and change our thinking

 

Writing is an excellent reflective tool. It takes longer to write down what we think and this requires us to find words to describe our experiences- literally ‘pinning down’ them down on the page. This means we deepen our thinking and see things from a perspective that may not have been as readily available to us in the moment. We can structure reflective writing by asking ourselves key questions. For example, after a difficult encounter with someone we may ask questions such as: What did I set out to do and what happened? What went well/badly? What have I learned and may do differently in the future? Such writing also provides us a useful record of what has happened and how we have grown. Ever read back over an old diary?

 

New diary or notebook – new start?

 

The start of school term or New Year are popular times to purchase new diaries and notebooks. They can signal new beginnings; that first page a fresh start. Yet you can begin journaling at any time- and on any page. What forms on a page gets ‘write’ to the heart of the particular author and can enable them to create their own life story. What story do you want to live by?

 

Each new client will receive a free Polaroid soft touch notebook in their choice of colour.

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