Journaling Positive and Passing Traditions

I’ve posted my favorite TED Talk by Shawn Achor several times, so I won’t post the whole video again, just click the link. I like the idea of training your brain to put you in a positive place. One of the things that I particularly like is his idea of journaling about one positive experience you have had in the past 24 hours, and that allows for your brain to relive it, which combined with some other actions in the video, allows you to retrain your brain to default to looking for the positive first. So, I am trying it. I’ll let you know how it works out. Journaling also works as a stress management tool. 

The second cool thing about journaling is that it allows you to communicate with your future self and, more importantly, your future children and grandchildren. It allows you to share with them stories and chronicle important things that have happened in your family, in your life, and in their lives. By writing about the events when they happen, they are fresh in your mind, and the details are rich. The context of the events also shines through when you write when the ideas are fresh in your consciousness.

You don’t have to be an accomplished writer to begin to keep a journal. Particularly if you are writing to yourself or to family members. Like a small gift, it is the thought that counts. You can do it in any format you want. You can write, record audio, shoot video, draw pictures. With today’s technology, the sky is the limit. Have fun…..pass on your family history and traditions through some wonderful stories.

A few years ago I decided that I would start to journal as well. I decided to do it as a book of letters to my son. I start each letter with “Dear Adam,” and then I try to tell him some stories, record some history, and/or offer some advice. I hope that someday, he reads it with as much joy as it gave me to write it. I hope that there are some lessons in there. I hope that it is something he shares. I think my father-in-law has a group of letters that his father wrote to him when he was younger. He has kept them all of these years, because it is a piece of his father, an insight into a man who has been dead for many years. To a certain extent it is a legacy, a form of immortality.

If you are young and unmarried without children….so what? You don’t have to be a wise old sage to chronicle your life for future generations. You don’t have to already be a parent to offer advice based on your experiences. No matter what age we are, we have great accomplishments and we make big mistakes. Why not share the positive thoughts and lessons with your future generations?

For me, it is a fun exercise that makes me smile when I do it. I like knowing that I am passing some things down to the next generation, and while I am writing, it lets me be with him, even when he is away from home.

  • Jerri Kaiser

    I go back and re-read my journals sometimes, gives me insight. I also choose passages to real aloud to my kids. They especially love the entries that are about them when I was pregnant with them and when they were babies.