Write it Out

Write it Out

by Annee de Mamiel |

I have known Catherine Turner for many years. I always love reading her insightful and inspiring work and I have followed her journey with great interest. I am a great believer in the benefits of sleep journaling and I jumped at the chance to talk to Catherine about it in more depth. She has very kindly agreed to share her knowledge on the subject on my blog - thank you Catherine. A x

 'There’s something about the act of putting pen to paper, hand writing a journal to slow down and make sense of the day.'


The sensory delight of the smell of ink, a leather bound cover; the touch of a crisp, fresh page; the rhythm and sound of pen gliding become the perfect anti-dote to a day of clattery tapping on a keyboard or fingertips nervily flying round a screen. A re-connection with ourselves, a way of bringing ourselves into the moment. On a practical level, it is a way to make sense of the often very loud running commentary in our heads. Literally getting things down on paper can be of real help in settling our minds before we go to bed. Often it’s the things we haven’t done which keep us awake at night and it can be helpful to note down priorities for the next day so you get rid of the more ‘to do list’ clutter at first. 


When practised as a daily evening ritual, writing a diary of the day can become more subtle, bringing deeper, therapeutic benefits. There is evidence to show that handwriting stimulates the same areas of the brain as meditation, namely the pre frontal cortex where our creativity and ability to problem solve happens.


It is a form of self expression, creativity and of the so many things left unsaid, of how we feel deep inside. The beauty of it is, you don’t have to be a skilful writer and there are no boundaries about what to write. If you’re unused to journaling, begin by knowing this is completely personal and private, thereby giving yourself permission to let the words flow. There are no ‘shoulds’ on how long you spend on this - it can be very few words if that’s all you have time for or it’s all you can find to write in that moment. The trick is to allow it to be a stream of consciousness without judgment, with full honesty and authenticity.


As you become more aware, more skilful you begin to see beyond your fixed thought patterns, finding answers and gaining perspective on your reactions to situations. Labelling emotions - joy, sadness, anger, fear, love - can be helpful and surprising as often we find it difficult to identify or acknowledge our true feelings out loud. Also, you can put intention behind the free flow of thought - for example, by directing your thoughts to the practice of gratitude is a really powerful way to bring closure to the day. 


Much of the time we are surrounded by negativity, complaints, reasons to be unhappy and finding the positive can be uplifting, transformational even. Again, it can be about acknowledging seemingly very small things. Remembering the smile the bus driver gave you; hearing the birds singing as you woke up; fully appreciating the resources and skills that went into the flat white you bought on the way to work. You’ll find so many things to be grateful for, and this shifts perspective profoundly, clearing the way for a restful night’s sleep. 


- Catherine Turner, writer, editor and meditation teacher at Will Williams Meditation

Tags: de mamiel, Sleep, sleep journaling, Sleep Series