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"My secret is that I have found the places within me that illness cannot touch. I have learned to honor them."
Can Enhance your Physical and Mental Health by Helping You To:
yourself to the hidden possibilities of your life. Writing is one way to
listen to your deepest self and the patterns within you.
the state of your health. Keep a log of treatment results, therapy sessions,
symptoms, track the course of illness, disease, and pain. Identify trends,
along with causes and effects. Note what seems to help, what makes things
worse. Note reminders about medication and exercise. Note symptoms precisely
and accurately at the time they occur. Chart your moods and levels of well
communication with medical personnel. Remember the questions you want to
ask. Frame the questions in a precise
way. Rehearse difficult conversations
yourself through the rough patches. Imagine that you have a built-in coach
to encourage you, push you onward, remind you what you need to do next,
tell you that this is the hard part and that things will soon get better. Dialogue
with yourself. Learn to become your own inner friend, supporter, and cheerleader.
pain in the background. Move discomfort out of the foreground of your experience
so the pain doesn't define you, doesn't run your life, and doesn't control
your experience. Pain may not go away, but when the mind is fully engaged
and focused elsewhere, distress is relegated to the back of the mind. The
writing process may bring on a kind of flow and altered state where time
ceases to exist when you are caught up in the creative process.
your immune system. Recent research suggests that writing about traumatic
experiences can have a measurable positive effect on the immune system
and improve rheumatoid arthritis and asthma symptoms. (Pennebaker, et al.)
your inner and outer resources. Get in touch with your hidden strengths
and resources. Make logistical plans to get into action to do what can be
done to live the life of your dreams. Find a way to experience (actually
or symbolically) the sweet rewards of moving toward your heart's desires. Find
ways to get the most out of your immune system by leading a richer, more
fulfilled life. (LeShan).
with resilience. You can coach yourself through your writing to bounce back
from disappointment, difficulty, and stress.
- Cultivate optimism. Optimistic people tend to take better care of their health, and
optimism is correlated with good health. You can teach yourself to become
more optimistic. (Seligman).
and stop unproductive patterns of thinking. Replace punishing self-talk
with nurturing messages from and to your inner self. Practice cognitive
therapy on yourself. (Cognitive therapy has been found to increase survival
rates in cancer and other serious diseases).
more creatively. Create a more interesting life, even if only in your imagination. Unleash
your dormant creativity by "playing" with writing. Ask yourself questions
about how you could reach your goals creatively.
on the big issues:meaning, mission, the "now what" and "what next" instead
of getting caught up in petty and mundane concerns. Obstacles seem less
daunting when viewed with perspective.
positive action. We all have vague ideas and fantasies about how life could
be made better. What is important is to take action to make our lives more
the way we want them to be.
wise decisions: Follow two or more scenarios to their logical
are the better choices? Waiting, ripening, keep asking questions and gathering
information. Realize that most decisions must be made with insufficient
yourself you have choices in every situation and about how you respond
to the various positive and negative situations in your life.
- Practice self-compassion. Learn to become compassionate with yourself so you can
experience yourself as a loving friend instead of "your own worst
to take care of your physical and emotional needs. Only with self-compassion
can you allow yourself to become accepting, kind, and loving toward others.
inner alignment. Align the various parts of yourself so they're moving in
the same destinations instead of pulling you in various directions and
creating inner conflict.
your depths. Navigate in a safe way those unknown parts of yourself that
have the power to bless or curse you.
hidden patterns. Through rereading, discover your own previously hidden
patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. You may also identify patterns
in outer situations and circumstances, and in others' behavior.
- Develop self-discipline. By establishing a writing practice, your self-discipline
can evolve instead of being imposed from the outside.
Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Ellen Moore, Ph.D.