As anyone who knows me or follows me would know, I’m an advocate for anything that will improve my physical or mental wellness. So when I found out that the simple act of putting pen to paper just 15-20 minutes a day to write personal notes can result in a more positive state of mind and greater sense of life satisfaction, I was pretty keen to get scribbling.
Related article: Is gratitude training the new meditation?
The findings came out of a world-first, collaborative study from Deakin University and Officeworks into the personal benefits of hand writing. The study revealed that those who handwrite notes, thoughts, ideas, feelings or memories are 2.5 times more likely to experience relief from worry, fear and anxiety (something I’ve suffered with in the past). And 7 in 10 people surveyed claimed handwriting helped them be more aware of their feelings and thoughts, which is crucial in maintaining a healthy state of mind.
Putting pen to paper allows me to focus soley on one thing at time. It helps me to be more mindful and I find that my mind de-clutters and becomes less busy with my thousands of thoughts. – Bianca Cheah
Off the back of this research (and the known benefits of journaling), I’ve decided to keep a journal for a week, covering my daily thoughts of reflection, goals, appreciation and mantras. My journey can be tracked via #timetowrite and I’ll be checking the hashtag for anyone else who decides to join me! Read on to find my week’s diary entries and how I found the experience.
I’ve landed back in Australia and it feels good to be back from LA. The trip is short (I’ll be off again soon to Italy), but the days are long, packed with meetings, interviewing staff, developing content and sleep. Now that TrainSrilanka is expanding globally, there’s so much on my plate. I’ve always been busy, but it’s getting ridiculous. How do I handle it all? Keeping a diary and writing down a daily to-do-list enables me to stop, think and plan ahead. Actually, taking the time to focus on priorities is a process which helps reinforce what I need to do and keeps me on track to achieve my goals.
6:15am – Yoga. Since fracturing my wrist, I’m aiming not only to get my body back in shape, but also gain back that mental state of calmness that yoga gives me. I’m missing it!
8:00am – Green juice and coffee. These two go hand in hand
10:00am – TrainSrilanka office
11:30 – Office meeting with the team to go over the week’s events and content strategy
1:30 – Lunch
4:00pm – Out and about running to meetings
Seeing my day laid out on paper puts everything into perspective and actually makes me really proud and appreciative of my life. As the saying goes, “When you love what you do, you don’t work a minute in your life!”
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remind myself to think about the following:
I’m missing my family today, so think I’ll write on some beautiful postcards. I find a handwritten message is so therapeutic and much more personal than a typed email to loved ones. So much more emotion comes through. Mum and dad really appreciate getting letters or postcards whenever I’m away so I need to make sure I find time in my schedule to update them on my travels. I like sitting under a tree in a park or on my apartment balcony to write these…Dear mum and dad. Always thinking of you, wish you were here. Bxx
For me, yoga feels like that juicy stretch we do when we wake up. Nothing hurts, it just feels sooooo good. With my eyes closed, all I’m thinking about is moving from one pose to the next. The fluidity, the calmness, the inhaling and exhaling. The focus, the music flowing through every part of my body. The feeling is addictive, I’m on a high and nothing in the world matters apart from this moment on my mat where time stands still. It’s my place, my moving poetry, my moving meditation. Yoga is the best thing to help calm me down and alleviate stress levels.
As I write this I’m listening to classical piano on Spotify. I used to play when I was younger. Sometimes I wish that I’d kept my old piano when moving from house to house. One day I’ll buy a new one. Playing the piano was like meditation. Piano allowed me to not only be creative, but gave me a deeper understanding of how to channel my emotions into what I was playing. Classical piano instantly calms me. It’s like my personal sedative and that’s why it’s my go-to track when running, practicing my yoga, driving my car, travelling overseas or even working at my desk.
Today I will make time to call my sister and chat for 30 minutes. Chantel is part of my support network. She knows me, she’s my twin sister and she’s my best friend. For those times I just need someone to listen to me and give one–on-one honest advice, she’s always there for me. Her support gets me through my day to day life. She’s there for the good and bad, and without her I wouldn’t be here today. I can’t thank her enough.
Today I’d like to set a personal goal, and that goal is LISTENING (a skill that I sometimes lack sadly). I know I’m not perfect, so I’ve decided to train myself to be the best version that I can be. Being busy and running a company is hard work; it’s 24/7 and there’s very little time to switch off and focus on personal goals. I have constant thoughts running through my head. Quite often I find myself not being able to focus on the people in front of me.
To help me start listening firstly I need to learn to stop, breathe and focus on the person that I’m interacting with. I need to leave my phone and technology switched off, listen wholeheartedly and look the person in the eye. I know it’s going to be tough at times, but small steps in the right direction will help me achieve mindfulness. This will help me to have more balanced and connected relationships, and I’m really looking forward to that state of satisfaction.
Now being at home I don’t reach for my laptop when sitting on the couch. I reach for a book and make a cup of tea, read and put pen to paper with ideas and thoughts. Switching the phone on silent and deliberately leaving the laptop and iPad out of sight enabled me to not think about work and just be in the moment.