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I was sent the writing journal, above, to review on my self help blog, Self Help Daily. As I began using it, it occurred to me that its benefits were twofold:
- As a writer, I know that the more you write, the better you write. So having daily writing exercises only makes me better at what I do.
- As someone utterly fascinated with and committed to brain health and mental fitness, I know that getting in touch with your creative side each day is like caffeine for the brain.
Naturally, it’s the second benefit that I want to concentrate here! If, however, you are a blogger, writer, or student – you might want to read my review of 365 Things to Write About. Trust me, it’ll do wonders for your creative flow.
Our minds need frequent stimulation. The more we challenge them, the more benefits they reap. However, it’s important to keep in mind (literally) that our brains need DIFFERENT kinds of stimulation. We have to “address” each part of our brain (reasoning, literal, creative, problem solving…). That’s why the individual who reads novels and considers herself to be doing all that she possibly can for mental fitness is sadly mistaken. While it’s wonderful to read, it simply isn’t enough.
To give our brains the workouts they crave, we have to do more than just read books. We have to actively pursue knowledge and we need to consistently push ourselves beyond our comfort zone. A wonderful way to do this is to write. Don’t JUST read other people’s words all the time, write your own. It’s a wonderful way to give the creative part of your brain a workout. It keeps him on his toes!
At the risk of jumping off track for a minute, I want you to think about your arms. Let’s say you worked out your right arm each day for an hour. You varied your routine, because your clever like that, but every day included strength training, yoga, and even kettle bells… but just for the right arm. Now lets say you neglected the left arm, completely ignoring it.
At the end of the year, the right arm will be the stuff dreams are made of! Michelle Obama and Lance Armstrong would have arm envy over that arm. However, the left arm would be spongy, soft, out of shape – a sad victim of mindless neglect. Sadly, as in tragically, that’s the approach most people take when it comes to physical health (right arm) and mental health (left arm). As incidences of memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s climb, it’s safe to say we’re paying the toll.
I urge you – perhaps even beg you – to begin being JUST as mindful of your mind as you are your body. While it’s important to be physically fit, it’s at least as important to be mentally fit.
I’m beginning a new section here on the mental fitness blog called the Brain Gym. In this area, you’ll find resources, brain games, mental exercises, books, quotes, and more. Basically, I’ll include anything and everything to do just what you’d expect a Brain Gym to do – give your brain the workout it not only needs, but craves.
The 365 Things to Write About! writing journal has the distinction of being the first “workout” in the Brain Gym. I hope you’ll order your copy today. The paperback edition is just a little over $10 now on Amazon and, you’ll love this, the Kindle edition is under $1! Click through the link to learn more.
I’m assuming you’ll be ordering your own copy of this writing journal, but I’m eager for you to start getting your creative juices flowing. Below, you’ll find 2 words or phrases from the book. Over the next 2 days, use each word to write a poem, short story, or dissertation. Let your brain run amok!
On the third day, write a short story using BOTH words… and, yes, I did choose two that I thought would be particularly challenging for that!
- 24 Hour Diner
- Taj Mahal
Bonus use of this writing journal: Not only are the writing prompts beneficial to the creative corners of your mind, you’ll have the opportunity to read, learn, and grow. When you come to a word, name, or phrase (such as Taj Mahal) that you want to know more about, do a little research. You can feel your brain cells buzzing. As I was working through the writing journal, I chose Medusa to write a story about. I realized that it’d been quite a few years since I’d read about the lovely lady (shhh, let’s not let her know she’s earth-shatteringly unattractive). I realized that I couldn’t name 10 facts about her (my personal test for judging how well I know something or someone), so I set off on a journey of research.
It’s funny, when I was in school, the thought of spending an hour researching made me coil in horror but now few things are funner than seeking out information, writing it down, and then launching off into other areas of exploration. Each time I read someone else’s name I wasn’t familiar with, he or she got the research treatment.
Suffice to say, I got a great deal of mental stimulation – all from one writing prompt.
Make each moment count double!
Coming Tomorrow: I’ll give you my favorite Mentally Challenging apps for brain fitness. Get this, they’re free AND fun!