About 1 year ago or so, I came across the idea of writing morning pages, an idea originally created by Julia Cameron in her book 'The Artist's Way'. Julia explains it here: http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/
Originally Julia recommends it for helping you being more creative, but to me it has done a lot more than that.
For about 1 year now, I write my 3 pages of morning pages everyday, in the morning, after I wake up. I've got a couple of important rules:
- don't edit anything, just write write write as fast as your thoughts come! You are literally putting your thoughts onto paper as they come - so don't worry about how well you are writing or if you can read what you have just written! that is not the point. Just let your pencil/pen flow at the speed of thought
- in this sense, for me it only works if I'm writing by hand really. If typing on a laptop, I can do it speedily and it will block the flow of thought, my 'internal editor' will come in to play
What does it do to me?
Basically it's been absolutely amazing in a number of ways!
- it gives me awareness of my key thoughts! How many times do we have thoughts going on in our heads that in reality we're not so much aware? or we are aware v lightly? by writing them down, it brings them to a more conscious level. You will be surprised!
- As I write first thing in the morning, usually the things that come up are the most important things happening at the moment in my life. And it is helpful again to be aware of what they are - often you are worried about something at a conscious level (eg a task you have to do at work) and you think that is the key thing that is driving your anxiety. But morning pages might actually bring out first a commentary that a friend has made to you that was hurtful and is causing you pain; probably a commentary that you brushed past consciously when it happened, you tried to put it away, tried to make it irrelevant at the moment, not to be hurt.
- it puts all these emotions out, from the subconscious to a conscious level. And when they are at a conscious level, we can better do something about them, or at least accept them, which is the first step to deal with emotions.
- and finally, last but most definitely not the least... as you put onto paper what is going on in your mind, you may become aware of really unrealistic and critical thoughts! Eg self criticism, why haven't I done this, etc. Often, these thoughts are going on a loop, on and on and on, over and over again. Bringing these to awareness will allow you to see how unrealistic they are and this will help deal with them!
Do give it a go. It's more than worth it.