Thoughts Turned to Writing While on Vacation
Recently, I took a rare vacation. Finding myself in a different time zone and with scheduled activities forced a complete break from my normal routine.
As a general rule, vacations are considered good for the mind, allowing a respite from the stressors of everyday life. Some people prefer vacationing with travel to new locales, being recharged through the immersion in a different place and culture, while others benefit from spending time somewhere familiar and comforting. The variety of methods for recharging the soul is nearly as diverse as there are people.
Yet, I confess that since I am not well-practiced at vacationing, I found it hard to halt my normal thoughts on creating schedules and prioritizing tasks. To me, the vacationing was hard work! I am a left-brain thinker, which means analytical thinking is my go-to thought process, and it took a full day of serious effort to turn this habit off.
Finding myself with time to try new things, I was hoping that dormant, right-brain creativity would find it’s way to the surface. To incent its appearance, I promised myself that, if it did present itself, I’d willingly follow its lead and go wherever it would take me. I was not to be disappointed.
The Science of Journaling
This compelled me to pick up my computer and start capturing a fluid stream of thoughts. The content was very different than my normal thoughts, and I found the page filled with an uncharacteristic randomness of thoughts and feelings. Questions like, what am I doing now and how does it make me feel? Where do I want to go and how does what I am doing now lead to that? What is important to me right this very instant, and am I working on filling whatever gaps may exist?
I recognized this was akin to a diary; journaling where I was in life in that moment. Oddly, it made me feel good to write as I did. I couldn’t understand why.
I allowed the analytic side of me to research what was going on and a quick Google search led me to the topic of psychoneuroimmunology – the way your thoughts and mindsets affect your health. A lot of great material can be found on the phenomenon of writing to better your health. Although the benefits are supposedly more powerful when using pen and paper, the use of modern technology can still be helpful. This is what I found out for myself that day on vacation.
I was fascinated to read how trauma patients can have their fears reduced through active writing. I found explanations on why writing down my thoughts brought me the comfort it did, and also ways to use writing to help with other personal challenges.
I do plan on being more active with journaling and expect to receive benefits like those captured in this good, brief list I compiled below. Journaling is easy to start and fun to try. I encourage you to spend just a few minutes a day for one week to see if it helps you as well.