I’ve found something that helps me a lot to keep myself focused and eases my day to day stress. I started doing this about six months ago, and, I’ve never looked back. What is it you ask… morning pages, have you heard of it?
I don’t remember how I heard about it for the first time, but, after I did, I was very interested and started looking into it. There is a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, that apparently was the “originator” of the morning pages. I’ve never read the book, but, I read a lot about the book, and other peoples reviews.
I’ve tried journalling over the years, several times, and I never stuck to it for very long. I guess I found the thought of reliving the days events in journalling kind of tedious, and I didn’t really enjoy it. This on the other hand is totally different. Have you heard of a brain dump? That’s when you get all your thoughts out on paper, to help still your mind, so your thoughts and worries don’t keep your mind busy, in a vortex of trying to organize and make lists. Well this isn’t quite like that either, or it’s not the way most people describe it, but close.
This is my understanding of how morning pages should be done. First thing in the morning you grab your pen and notebook and you start writing. That’s it! Write about anything that pops into your head and keep going until you have three full pages written. Apparently, it doesn’t even matter if you write that you have no idea what to write, because, eventually something will pour out of you.
This is how my morning pages look. I wake up and make my coffee, and, while I’m waiting for my coffee I start writing. I’ll sip my first cup, and I’ll continue writing. I usually start with just anything that’s wanting to come out on paper, and, I continue this, until the stream ends. Usually by the third page i’ve slowed down, and, it’s on this page I write five things I’m grateful for. I don’t know why I chose five things, but, I’ve not changed this to another number. Somedays I have a really hard time coming up with five things I’m truly grateful, but, I always come up with something… eventually. Then I continue, by rounding out my day, just listing what I’ve got to get done. Sometimes I scribble lists or I write down a schedule of the days events. It really feels like I’m talking to myself, organizing my life. That’s usually how I end my morning pages.
This takes me approximately thirty minutes in the morning. There are several mornings I’ve missed,, because I’ve not waken up in time to get it done before work, and I can honestly say, I miss it when I don’t do it now. I actually look forward to my morning coffee and my notebook. I feel like it relieves my stress and it really does calm my mind. Because the simple act of writing down my worries and thoughts, gets it out of my brain, even if its for a short while. The bonus is that I find that I actually work through some issues on paper.
I know I don’t do the morning pages exactly as was intended, I’m sure, but, I’m extremely happy with this morning ritual! If this is something you’re interested in I’d suggest googling it too get a variety of perspectives on it, everything from the size of the notebook and pages (I know that was a big question of mine… should I get a tiny notebook or not), and thoughts on the structure or lack of, on the pages. One thing is certain, this should not be done on your computer, but, writing should be done longhand. My writing is messy most of the time and I don’t care. No one will be reading it, and to date, six months later, I’ve not reread anything I’ve written in my current notebook, or my previous ones.
What do you think about this? If you’re looking for something to help with swirling thoughts, and anxiety about your day to day tasks, why not give this a try. Sometimes it’s the little things, the low tech things, that can benefit you the most. -Anneli