Writing down your life’s story can be helpful to both you and your loved ones. There are several benefits to keeping track of your life in written form. Don’t worry if you’re not a writer; you don’t have to write a book. Keeping track of your daily life by documenting notes, photos, movie stubs, and other pieces of life’s little moments is enough.
Benefits for the Self
Keeping a journal can help you to improve your attention span and your awareness. Some studies suggest that writing can help to exercise your brain and even prevent dementia. Taking the time to write for a little while each day can also provide you with some much needed quiet time and the opportunity to meditate over different parts of your day, week, month, etc. Writing provides opportunities for reflection and self-growth as well. Remember that writing in your journal should be a stress-free event. If you start to feel like you’re forcing yourself to sit down and write each day, take a break for a few days and try writing again when you feel refreshed and ready.
Benefits for Loved Ones
By writing down the details of your life, you can ensure that you pass down your values and life lessons to your family and to other loved ones. You can make sure that they have detailed accounts of stories that you enjoy telling about your youth. You can also tell loved ones stories about themselves when they were younger that they might not know or remember. Another important benefit of journaling is that you will be able to make a record of your health history and your family’s health history, too, an act that can greatly help any family member later in life, should they experience any similar health concerns that you or other family members have had.
How to Start
Start off slowly. Write about places you have lived and homes you have lived in. Describe where you were raised as a child and friends you had in your childhood. Starting off this way can help to pull up memories that you may have thought you forgot. If you’re not a writer at all, try recording yourself talking about these types of things on tape or get a loved one to ask you questions, record that conversation, then play it back and write down important points that you made during the interview. If you try to write a few short sentences each day about whatever comes to mind in that moment, the process will become easier over time.