What is the ultimate source of change for a human desiring change? If change is happening in your life, where does the ability to cope with the change come from, and is there anything you can do to make that change easier to adapt to? Science has the answer, of course, or at least a suggestion for something that you can do to make the changes more smoothly.
Today in the New York Times there is a report describing the power of writing to help students and married couples that are going through changes:
… Stanford researchers focused on African-American students who were struggling to adjust to college. Some of the students were asked to create an essay or video talking about college life to be seen by future students. The study found that the students who took part in the writing or video received better grades in the ensuing months than those in a control group.
Another writing study asked married couples to write about a conflict as a neutral observer. Among 120 couples, those who explored their problems through writing showed greater improvement in marital happiness than those who did not write about their problems.
I have found that since April 1, 2014, when I began to write my journal about the 21 Day Sugar detox experience, that writing about nutrition, diet and the food production system has helped me immensely to obtain the goals that I really wanted when I began last year. My own scientific wild-a** guess as to why this works is that the act of creation, in my case articles, cements in my mind not only the outcomes that I want to realize, but the feelings that I get in my moment-to-moment struggle to obtain them.
If you read from the beginning last year you can see the growth as it happened. Writing my plans, writing down what worked and what happened when it didn’t work strengthens my mind. Knowing that I will be writing about my successes or failures strengthen’s my resolve and makes me commit my feelings to memory so that I might better relay them to you, and to my future self when I re-read my articles later on.
However, I don’t think there is anything special about prose. If your creative outlet is color, then you could get the same results (in my own un-scientific opinion) by painting or drawing. Maybe your creative outlet is something else entirely. I think that the act of creating to describe or strengthen is what is going on in the brain. What we are doing when we create with a goal in mind is we are cleaning the debris from the paths that new neural connections take to make a practice a habit, and then to make it a way of life.
Sometime back I wrote about standing in the concession line at the theater, and making a decision to drink tea instead of Coke. Getting a Coke with popcorn was a habit at the theater. Getting something else was a change, and I wrote about it back then. Writing about it gave me a chance to analyze the trigger, analyze the motivation to change, describe and reinforce the feeling of changing. Writing about it made it easier to not get a Coke the next time at the movies, made establishing a new practice easier. Creation helped to make life easier, because I knew what I wanted and how to avoid missing my targets.
That’s one example of where writing about change has helped me immensely. The changes in my diet have made all changes in my live easier to cope with, because all of the changes are related, because they are all occurring in the same mind. I can see the patterns repeat themselves over and over, throughout my life. Writing about the patterns has helped me, I hope it will help you, too.
You should consider creating something, music, drawings, poems, prose, to help you examine your future the way that you want it. If you can imagine it, then maybe you can obtain it. Knowing that there are people in your audience who need to hear that change is possible, if you care about them, then share your creations. Reading or seeing what you have made might help the people that seek you out. In my case it helps me to adhere to the high road knowing that my successes may lead to your successes. The act of writing helps me, and the thought of you reading helps me. Thanks for your support!