Professor Richard Wiseman is an entertaining and fascinating chap. He's not a fan of pop psychology, tending to debunk it. But rather than leave it there, he offers some very positive, scientifically-based alternatives in his book, "59 Seconds".
Today, I'd like to share some insights on the power of writing. It seems, that in many situations, talking about our problems can actually leave us feeling worse. I cannot defend his view here because I know it is vital to talk to others when we are down. So let's flip to his positive alternative. This highlights the weight of scientific evidence to support the habit of writing about our challenges. Writing about 'stuff' - even the bad stuff, helps us feel released from the burden and move on.
My encouragement for us this week is to write not in this soul-searching way but in a soul-enhancing way. The challenge is to write a positive diary with the aim of shifting our brain chemistry.
Richard suggests one theme per day, and taking the weekend off, but I'm going to suggest we just go for the whole four-course meal on a daily basis... just for a week.
Our first entry will be to focus on a favoured future. That it to say, to write about a desired future that is within the realms of posibility, where our realistic dreams and aspirations have worked out.
I know from my own research that this activates a phenomenon in the brain called, rather delightfully, "Memories of the Future". The process sets us up for future success by programming our senses to scan for our dreams coming true.
Secondly, and perhaps more challenging, to write five things about ourselves that we love. (And don't put, "See yesterday's entry!") This is not in Richard's book but came from my friend, Pearl.
Thirdly, to write affectionately about the people in our lives that we appreciate.
Fourthly, and finally, to write a list of things we are grateful for.
I dare you to do "Dear Diary"!
(Just for a week...)
A Moodscope member.