How I Discovered What I Truly Need

I’ve done a lot of introspection work lately.

Well, truthfully, this is something I have been working on for years, but it’s only in the past 6 months or so that I’ve really started making it more of a priority.

I’ve switched my 6-day a week early morning gym session for a combination of gym, yoga, and/or journaling. Journaling happens on a daily basis, but some mornings that will turn into an hour + long session of journaling and creative writing, because that’s what I need that morning.

A year ago, I had no idea what I truly needed. It was the gym every morning…nothing else.

Writing for me has always been a passion.

I have had some sort of diary/journal for as long as I could remember. I sacrificed a spare in grade 12 to take a creative writing class, a class I didn’t need, but wanted to take (a spare is a block of class time where you don’t need to take a class because you have extra credits, I had extra credits because of band).

But I would be lying if I said that I have been consistently writing for that long. I’ve gone through phases of writing every day to every other day to once a week to weeks without writing. But I always go back to it. I never really questioned why until recently.

I’m a writer. 

I may not be a published author, but I am a writer. And I absolutely need writing in my life.

But figuring this out didn’t just spontaneously happen one day. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide that writing was what I needed in my life.

Oh no, it was so much messier than that. I had to go through countless periods of feeling lost, overwhelmed, anxious, sad. I’ve had to endure long stretches of second guessing and questioning every single decision I make. And thinking back, the majority of times this happened was when my practice of writing had taken a backseat.

When I am feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, one of the first questions I ask myself now is: “Have I taken some time to sit down and write about this?” And truthfully? I’d say at least 90% of the time, I haven’t. The majority of this kind of writing never sees the light of day and stays in my written journal, but it’s the act of writing that is key.

Getting the thoughts onto paper (or screen in some situations) helps me think through what’s going on in my head. It opens up space in my head to allow other thoughts to come in, and often times, I am able to come to some sort of conclusion or solution to a problem/issue just by writing about it.

Of course, there were moments when writing wasn’t a solution. When my grandfather passed away, I was devastated, and no amount of writing could take away that feeling of grief. But writing did help with processing and working through those emotions. Writing was therapeutic in that situation, and has been in countless other situations.

It wasn’t until I made a point of making writing a daily practice that I realized that this is what I needed in my life. And it was by implementing a daily gratitude journal that I came to this realization. I still go through periods of feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, etc. Writing doesn’t just magically rid my entire life of these feelings.

But it does help me get out of my own head. And it does help me work through whatever feelings/emotions I’m experiencing at the time.

Now, I’m not suggesting that EVERYONE should implement a daily writing practice, what works for me might not work for you. But I would encourage everyone to at least start a daily gratitude practice at the very least.

And if you find that consistently doing something in your life helps you feel better, then make a point of ensuring this is a priority in your life. I can bet that you will notice some positive changes, especially when life gets hard. Because let’s face it, in today’s social climate, there are plenty of opportunities for life to just get messy and overwhelming.

It’s up to us to find what works to keep us grounded…to find what it is that we need in our lives to keep us true to ourselves.

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