Queen Elizabeth wants you to meditate, reflect, and journal…
In her Christmas annual Christmas address, she began,
“I once knew someone who spent a year in a plaster cast recovering from an operation on his back. He read a lot, and thought a lot, and felt miserable.
Later, he realised this time of forced retreat from the world had helped him to understand the world more clearly. We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock. Be it through contemplation, prayer, or even keeping a diary, many have found the practice of quiet personal reflection surprisingly rewarding, even discovering greater spiritual depth to their lives. Reflection can take many forms….”
Easy for her to say! While the Queen certainly enjoys a robust and full workweek, she is also free of the mundane duties that consume so much of most people’s lives. Unlike the rest of us, she doesn’t have to cook or clean or even choose her own wardrobe. Being able to delegate those tasks lets her have time for reflection.
What about the rest of us? What about those of us who have to steal quiet time sitting in the car or locked in our offices? Is the effort worth it?
Unequivocally, yes. It is very worth it for many reasons. Lock the door and recline the seats and I’ll tell you about one of my favorite benefits to keeping a journal – decision-making…
Keeping a journal or writing can free working memory. Research has shown that people who write about test-taking fears prior to the exam raised their results by a letter grade. Researchers discovered that pre-test fear can trigger self-talk that takes up a lot of working memory. No room to process can result in haphazard decision-making and reduced reasoning abilities.
When your working memory is full (of work, of life, of to do lists), decision-making can be difficult. One reason is because you simply run out of space due to excess material to process. Also, in the midst of worry, you begin to “talk things out” in your mind. Writing a journal is one of the best – and cheapest – ways to clear your head of unnecessary information so that you can perform at the top of your mental abilities.
Try it for a week. Take a few minutes every day and write down the things that are causing you stress or worry. Once you eliminate all of the little “to dos”, focus on the more important projects or tasks and write down your best-case scenario for each of them. When I started doing this, I discovered that it was much easier for me to eliminate barriers to success and envision a clear path to my goal.
It is as important for you to make time to journal as it is for the Queen of England!
To your success!