Elizabeth Miller | Jun 19, 2020

Writing Your Story in Hard Times

As children, we grow up hearing stories about heroes conquering villains. Someone slays a dragon; someone rescues a friend in need. Whether it be magic spells, a mystery solved, or friends and family coming together to overcome difficulties (or math tests), tales about facing and triumphing over adversity are part of the fabric of the stories of childhood.

When we grow up, we draw strength from these stories. If she could do that, then I can do this. If he could overcome that, I will get through this.

One particularly inspirational story that has been told the world over is that of a young girl in a difficult circumstance with her family, hiding from enemies who wished her harm. Anne Frank’s diary during a traumatic time in her life has impacted hundreds of thousands of readers.

Why Write?

Your story matters—especially at a time like this. Not only will you help historians as they study how individuals dealt with this crisis, you will also have the chance to help family and friends generations after you, as they read your words and find examples of vulnerability, companionship, courage, honesty and resilience. Sometimes, it’s enough to know that someone else went through something difficult, and it didn’t get the better of them—they kept going.

Another reason is the health benefits. The University of Rochester Medicine reported that journaling is an effective way to manage stress, reduce anxiety and cope with depression (you can see the article here. Journaling can help make sense of the chaos and order it in a way where you can cope, deal and heal from whatever is going on.

Some Ideas to Get Started

Journaling has become an increasingly mainstream topic in the last few years. With trends like gratitude journals, bullet journaling and more, there are numerous ways to creatively share your story.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • Pick an object, a place, a pet, etc. and write down a memory about it.
  • Get together with your family and write down or record memories you have together.
  • Write about your day and describe it in great detail, like you are telling a story to a child.
  • Write about 3 of your best qualities and 3 areas in which you wish to improve.
  • Focus on gratitude for one entry.

You never know how recording your own story will impact others, but you can always know that your story is important—it matters!

You can find more ideas to get you started in your journal writing here.

Elizabeth Miller

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