Did you know that March 14 is National Write Down Your Story Day? Whether you are more comfortable using pen and paper or utilizing a keyboard, the goal for this day is telling your story. You have many stories to tell, and when it comes to the value of written communication, there are many options available. You might want to choose one particular story to disclose, such as a memorable event from earlier in your life. You might prefer to describe an ongoing process you are involved in that deserves to be explored in storytelling form.
However you decide to tell your story, great value abounds in giving your thoughts and experiences a voice. Well-known benefits of writing down your thoughts, feelings, and goals can include:
- Boosting your self-esteem
- Improving your mood
- Reducing stress
- Improving memory
- Inspiring creativity
Keeping a Journal Keeps Your Life in Focus
If you are new to journaling, the task might feel a bit foolish at first. However, when done regularly over time, there are multiple benefits. Recording impactful life events helps you “in the moment” by allowing you to sort through your feelings and reactions to what is occurring. The process of “laying it out” in written terms gives you a unique overview of events, as well as assistance in making decisions regarding your next move.
It also can prove helpful to look back on what you wrote in the future, as you may record details that otherwise would be forgotten. Patterns may emerge in terms of the behavior of yourself or others, which are beneficial to recognize.
Write Your Autobiography
If you have ever read an autobiography, which is the story of one person’s life written by that person, you know how interesting it can be to see the arc of a person’s life played out in a book. One need not be famous to author their autobiography. Make a goal to spend a certain amount of time per day or week to write your history. Sketch out the usual details, such as when and where you were born, your family members, and details related to schooling. Fill in with memories of important events that happened to you and relationships that began or evolved.
Fleshing out your life history will likely trigger memories you might not have visited in a long time. Writing can help you better understand things related to your mental health issues and recurring patterns. As these patterns present themselves, you can discuss them with a treatment professional, such as a therapist, to see how you can move forward with this awareness. It might mean you recognize ineffective behavior in yourself or harmful actions from those around you more quickly, allowing you to make smarter decisions and change course if needed.
Write Your Story That Hasn’t Happened Yet
There can be great value in writing about the story you would like to live eventually and detail in your journal or life story. Planning for the future can help focus a young person’s mind and give them something tangible to review while learning to manage their mental health and sobriety. Use your new writing pastime to map out what you want your future to be. Start with bigger goals, then break each one down into small steps that move you closer to achieving your goal. Imagine your life after conquering this list and how you might tell this story of accomplishments to others.
Use “Choose Your Ending” Story Options
Many virtual and e-stories include the option to “choose your ending,” meaning at specific points in the story, the reader can choose which direction the main character goes. The character might have the option to go through one of three doors, visit a specific city, or engage with a choice of characters. “Choose your ending” means having several chapters that lead to a variety of endings.
Try exercising this option in telling your story to anticipate what results you might see, depending on your choices. If you have an upcoming decision to make, consider how things might go, depending on what choices you make. For example, you might be invited to attend an event that could make staying sober difficult. Write out different versions of what you anticipate resulting feelings and actions will be, including if you decline the invitation, go without mental preparation, and go with a plan of action. Ask yourself which is the best outcome for you.
You can use the “choose your ending” exercise to help make healthy choices related to many situations in your life!
March 14 is National Write Down Your Story Day, which gives you ample opportunity to document your past, think about your present, and make choices that help build a better future. Keeping a journal is a popular way to help organize your thoughts and delve into emotions. You can also write your autobiography, plan goals for the story you will tell about your future, and help plan ways to handle difficult situations. At Sustain Recovery, we understand how to guide adolescents in identifying their own stories. Our skilled treatment professionals help our clients put their past in perspective and make better decisions related to their mental health, struggles with addiction, and life goals. We offer various programs to suit the needs of a young person who needs residential treatment and other kinds of assistance. Call us today to find out how we can help put your family back together! (949) 407-9052