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Step Away From the Chocolate and Write
I recently read an article that said people who journal or write daily lose more weight on a diet or wellness plan than those who do not. The article pointed out that writers are able to reflect on the things that cause them to eat emotionally. Additionally, when they vented about life’s problems on paper, they were less likely to take things out on themselves with excessive eating.
Each day, when I get up to write I feel a sense of satisfaction that chocolate, or in my case popcorn, could never satisfy. Most writers will tell you that writing is cathartic; it enables you to release the pain that lies beneath the surface of life. When we sit down to write, we are on the therapy couch sharing our most intimate self.
Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living; and he died for that belief. We are blissfully happy and until we see a line at Starbucks or the news bulletin that interrupts our favorite program nothing seems to bother. We have become much too content knowing as little as possible about the Self that we stagnate with.
When my mother died, I discovered that she had been writing to me for 5 years. Whenever I came home with journals or a note pad from a conference, my mother would add them to the ones she was using to tell her story. Months after she died, when I was looking through her papers to find the “important” stuff she kept for me, I uncovered these writings which began simply with Dear Bertice. There were stories I’d heard before, and some that I would have never known. My mother revealed her deepest pains and greatest fears. She shared with me the struggle of getting older and the sobering realization of being close to death.
Her writings were my salvation and filled the emptiness left by her loss with love and understanding.
I agree that people who write while on a wellness program can lose more weight than those who do not, but I don’t think that it’s because they have a substitute for eating. I believe that writers lose more weight because they are releasing the stress that adds more weight and disease than food ever could.
I know people who journal every day and yet they are no more focused on their goals than they would be without writing. These people write as a means of getting back at someone and so because they cannot say what they’d like to, they write it. But writing without reflection and responsibility is not enough. I also know people who write only when the mood strikes them, barely filling a page, yet these folks are able to see themselves with a great deal of clarity.
Just write. Pick a time, and place that works for you. Sometimes, I write a small note on a napkin (I feel sorry for my kids when I die. They will have bags of little notes to sift through. Keep looking, that’s where the money is.) Other times, I write in a journal or even in a computer file.
Writing promotes wellness; the more you do it, the better you become; start writing and add life.
· Write a short paragraph describing you. Tell the reader who you truly are.
· Writers are readers, what book are you reading right now?
· When is the last time you were read to? Check out an audible book from the library and listen to someone else’s story.
· Write a short story for a child and read it to them.
· If your life was a book, what would the title be?
Be you, Be Well, Be Write
Bertice Berry, PhD