The Power of Writing it Down

May 21, 2018



Journalist and author, Joan Didion, is credited with saying "I don't know what I think until I write it down."


I love that. 


Seven or Eight months ago I started using a small journal as a way to write down my thoughts.  


My journal is my therapist.


I tell it all the thoughts in my head.


And I don't hold back.


Some people call this a thought download.


I call it a brain dump.


Have you tried it? 


At first, it was hard for me to resist the urge to edit my writing in my head before putting it down on paper.


But I got over that.


It's particularly helpful when I'm having a bad day. 


Writing down my thoughts without filtering them helps me know what's really going on in my brain.


And it totally helps me see where my brain is trying to trick me. 


With my thoughts down on paper, I can separate the facts from my feelings and interpretations of the facts.


I'm often surprised at the thoughts swirling around in my brain that I didn't even consciously know were there. 


Since thoughts create our feelings,


if I want to feel differently, 


I need to take a look at my thoughts and see which ones are creating problems for me. 


The other day, after taking 5 minutes and doing a brain dump in my trusty journal, 


I realized that a thought I was thinking about one of my children was creating all sorts of negative emotions and drama for me in my head. 


From there, I took a look at that thought and decided that it wasn't helping me at all.


Recognizing the thought gave me a little bit of power over it.


And now I'm working on changing it. 


Because it's not serving me well. 


And while there are a lot of things that I can't control---


I can control what I think about.


It isn't easy, but it's so worth the mental energy it takes to manage my brain.


Writing it down is the first step.


After all, like Joan Didion said, you don't really know what you're thinking until you write it down. 

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