Saturday, February 6, 2016

Take a Letter, Maria

Whenever I need to work on something seriously I really like to write it in pen on a legal pad. For goals or plans, any color will do. For deeply emotional work, I like to grab a colored one of blue or purple, I even have one that has multiple colors like a rainbow.

I hadn't thought of why the physical act of writing things down seemed to make it more "real" and grounded in the "real world." Lucky for us all, some researchers figured it all out.

French psychologist Stanislas Dehaene told The New York Times, "When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated," he said. "There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain, it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn't realize. Learning is made easier," he concluded.

So we form a connection when we write stuff down. Though the studies refer to college student note taking, I don't think it's a leap to connect it to life engagement. Especially in the realm of personal emotional growth. This is tough stuff, engaging our hands in some activity relieves stress.

Typing just isn't the same thing. We also add to our mental picture the sense of touch and scent of the paer and ink. Creating such subtle neural connections give our brain alternative reference points to whatever we're working on.

I do many exercises to connect me to my emotional self. I write pro/con lists just to see how I feel inside my head. They're often very lopsided because I have figured out that what I really want gets etched in my subconscious. I think I'm confused but I'm really not.

Writing with my non dominant hand has really interesting results too. It shows my child like wonder at many things. Sometimes questions come up and I answer with the dominant hand. Like mother and daughter sharing secrets.

Using drawings, different colored pens, highlighter and even stickers or sticky note flags create even more connections. Consider using different paper textures too.

So grab that pen and lets start making a connection!

Kind comments welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this article; as a very tactile artist, I have always written things down to help me sort my priorities, figure out how I feel about certain topics, or to record creative ideas. Unlike some individuals, I like making lists because it gets the clutter out of my brain. I couldn't survive any meetings at a former employer's without colored pens to keep note taking interesting. Typing may save time, but writing will make an internal impression.


Remember to use the pull-down menu for Anonymous comments