Writing can be a good daily habit, not just for those of us who earn a living writing or who enjoy blogging, but for anyone regardless of his or her profession. Writing can be thinking on paper, in a clearer and more systematic way than we do in our head, it can encourage creative thinking, induce relaxation, relieve stress, and it can also be cathartic, providing psychological relief from a host of personal struggles. It can even be fun.
“Writing is a kind of psycho-neural muscular activity which helps bridge and integrate the conscious and subconscious minds. Writing distills, crystallizes, and clarifies thought and helps break the whole into parts.” — Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I think that writing as a stress-relieving, self-improvement, and thought-enhancement process is most effective when it stops being a conscious act that you do now and then, when you have the time and are in the mood for it, and becomes a daily habit, almost like tooth-brushing. Even if you write only for a few minutes (whether you do it in an organized format, such as in a journal, or merely scribble notes on your computer), you can still access the wonderful benefits of writing, provided that you do it daily.
Habits are formed when our brain converts a sequence of actions into an automatic routine, which the mind then automatically triggers when there’s the right cue, according to the Power of Habit. When a habit is activated, parts of the mind, and sometimes even conscious thought, can be temporarily suspended, reducing the activity of the mind distracting thoughts.
If you can find a quiet and comfortable place where nobody will disturb you, and settle there for at least a few minutes every day around the same hour with your computer or with good old pen and paper, you can help your brain turn writing into a habit. While sporadic writing is better than no writing at all, the busyness of life and the many technological distractions that vie for our attention can lead to procrastination and other states that discourage writing. But if we manage to turn writing into a daily habit, our mind will be grateful.
Is writing a daily habit for you?