BY AVIS WILLIAMS
Almost every day, and usually several times a day, someone asks me how I am doing. I love when they ask twice with a bit of emphasis that makes it clear that they are not just making small talk but are genuinely concerned. In some ways this has become a loaded question for me.
To truly process how I am doing, I write. Despite my aspirations, I am not talking about a New York Times best seller but rather a journal entry and sometimes a random haiku to unpack the answer to the question – how am I doing?
Journaling has many benefits, a few of which may surprise you. Writing as a means of self-expression is great way to improve communication skills. It’s true that there is a strong connection between written and spoken communication. Journaling can have a positive impact on both.
Because of the unique relationship between the hands and the brain, writing can also boost memory and comprehension. If you ever studied by writing information down, you likely experienced the benefit of this. Words represent ideas and the formation of letters causes the mind the compose or re-compose during journaling.
Being intentional and setting aside time to journal requires self-discipline. This is great because discipline begets discipline. As you perform better and are consistent in one area of your life, the habits tend to spread to other areas. That’s why, if you’re like me, cleaning up and organizing my work space tends to help me focus and organize my thoughts thereby making me more productive.
I hope I am not being too predictable if I once again cite mindfulness as a benefit. What better way to be self-aware and in the moment than to write about it? Journaling is a great way to move beyond frustration and anxiety to a space of active engagement.
Finally, and really important, journaling can help boost your mood and strengthen overall emotional health. We could all use that. As journaling habits are developed, these benefits become long term especially as the writer becomes more in tune with their health and their inner needs.
As you consider journaling, keep it simple. There are a variety of thematic journals ranging from gratitude to fitness. Some include writing prompts to get you started. These are ideal if they meet your needs. Or you can simply use a composition notebook or purchase a blank journal.
Either way, there is no shortage of content as we live in unprecedented times. Journaling will help you capture these moments as you write it out. How are you doing?
Avis Williams is superintendent of Selma City Schools. For more information, email her at email@example.com.