The view each morning from my kitchen window reveals a few of our trees, the open land and neighboring fields. Each morning brings something different and I decided to photograph the same sunrise section of trees every day for a year. I added this activity to the daily morning ritual of writing something about my thoughts and feelings while waiting for the coffee to perk.
The writing part of my morning includes a small (4”x6”), very thick book with the title Q&A, 365 Questions, 5 Years, 1,825 Answers. A unique find in a nature center gift store a few years ago, on each page is the date, a random question, and three short lines on which to write an answer. Each date of the year has space to write the answers for five years. The questions range from ‘Are you working hard, or hardly working?’ to ‘Where have you found evidence of higher powers?’ to ‘What can you smell right now?’ Some of the questions made me laugh out loud.
Every time I open this little book I remember enjoying an early fall morning walk along a nature center trail with my sister. The one mile trail snaked through freshly mown fields, cool damp woods, across a small stream, and past the fenced areas for the farm animals. Pausing at the herb garden to read each sign, there was a lengthy discussion about what we would like to plant at our homes next spring. We took pictures of the cows, finally resting on the wooden rocking chairs arranged across the deck outside the building. It is a pleasant memory I reinforce every morning.
Three lines do not always provide adequate space to write the words often triggered by these simple random questions, and so, my early morning writing space also includes a large sketchpad full of unlined paper. No editing happens, complete sentences hardly exist, and I often find my own writing prompts rereading these morning meanderings.
Putting the pen down when the timer buzzes or the coffee calls, I feel more focused, less distracted. The research of James W. Pennebaker continues to present evidence of the health benefits of writing about thoughts and feelings, even for very short periods of time.
Try it sometime!
Gather something to write on and a writing tool.
Set a timer for one minute
- Write for yourself only, whatever comes to mind for one minute. Feel the texture of the pencil or pen, the paper, the flow of the ink. Notice thoughts and feelings at the end of the minute.
- Notice the difference when you type for one minute on your phone, tablet or computer.
- See what happens when you do this for one minute every day for a week.
Article by James W Pennebaker describing his research about writing and health.