However, it's been a difficult year with one thing and another and a constructive, wise, and spiritual idea from a dear friend (she, also constructive, wise, and spiritual!) has helped me get a grip on things so much I have decided to share it with you.
I have recently begun completing a short exercise before I go to bed which makes me feel good, peaceful, and happier. No, not heart-pumping, adrenalin-inducing exercise exercise, (ahem!) but an exercise in writing. Yes, some days I feel like I have written enough words to rival 'War and Peace' (we all know that's not true!), but this is easy, doesn't take a creative mind when your juices are all dried up, and can really make a positive impact on your mental, spiritual and emotional well-being.
Every night, before I go to bed, I take two minutes to write down three things which made me happy on that particular day. It could be anything from the gorgeous cold but sunny morning I woke to, getting a compliment from a stranger on my new outfit, right up to the safe arrival of my friend's newborn. You might surprise yourself what comes to light and what you have to be grateful for!
I can see several benefits to doing this little exercise, not just ones which rate highly in the pursuit of happiness and fulfilment, but some are particularly pertinent for us writerly types.
1. It can help you keep grounded, keeping things in perspective in perhaps troubling times. See, life ain't all bad!
2. I wouldn't be surprised if casting your mind back over your day, trying to pull out the good out from it boosts your memory. Making lists is certainly proven to boost your memory.
3. This evening ritual will help teach you to stick to a routine. There are arguments for and against writing regularly, and I am firmly in the 'for' camp. The more you do it, the better you become, and if you can build it into your daily routine, all the better.
4. Above all, writing this little list will surely improve your mood (see no.4). It's perfect for unwinding before nodding off and dreaming of pleasant things.
I have a little notebook on my bedside cabinet which I scribble in each evening before I drop off to sleep (quite an achievement in itself most nights, as I often don't remember going to be as I'm asleep so quickly!). You could even blog it, like Claire Law has done with her '3 Beautiful Things', publicly or privately, if you really feel impassioned by the concept!
Write well. Feel well. Sleep well.
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