Maybe you’re lucky enough to have some birthday cards hand-written over the decades by a cherished elder, or a stack of treasured old letters, or maybe a graceful inscription in a family Bible. A century ago, penmanship, like proper table-manners, was a crucial part of being a well-brought-up young lady, and children tediously practiced the loops and twirls of formal cursive, and “writing a fine hand” was socially desirable.
Si vous parlez Français, you know that our English language words “journey” and “journal” relate to the word jour, for “day”—and 2024 is the perfect time to start making a journal part of your everyday practice for welcoming more wellness and joy in the new year.
By “journaling,” we don’t mean typing. The reason may surprise you: handwriting, ideally cursive versus block-printing, is shown by science to keep your brain young. Cursive and even hand-printing do more for your brain plasticity, meaning flexibility, as well as the brain’s capacity to heal and recover, than typing. For this reason, writing cursive or script now is being re-introduced to many primary and middle school curricula across the USA to improve cognitive development, after falling into dusty disuse for a half century in most places.
Writing with a pen (or pencil, marker, crayon!) stimulates the brain in ways not reached by using a keyboard, according to current studies. In 2012, two women researchers Karin James and Laura Engelhardt established that old-fashioned cursive writing activates a unique reading circuit in the brain. Subsequent studies demonstrate that learning to write cursive helps the brain to develop more complex language activities and composition skills—and this applies to adults as well as kids.
The practice of cursive writing helps prevent the reversal and inversion of letters, a common complaint from people experiencing dyslexia. The decline of cursive taught in school is now believed to be a significant factor in the rise of reading disabilities, and the decline of functional literacy among American students.
In other words, your brain is not cooked! The work of your brain is not finished, and writing cursive can improve your capacity to form new neural pathways, reinforcing established skills and memories, and increasing the capacity to form new skills. Current studies suggest that the regular neural exercise of writing with a pen (or whatever) every day may even help the aging brain maintain fine motor skills, including balance and steady gait. Learning a new language or learning to play a musical instrument have similar effects.
Shauna del Reed created The Journal Journey Travel Set by Beautiful Intentions which offers all the essential supplies needed to journal and heal from some of the depleting effects of trauma and chronic stress. The set includes the Beautiful Intentions dotted journal, a set of high-quality dual-tip pens, decorative paper & washi tape, acrylic paint pens and a glue stick. Additionally, the set includes The Journal Journey Process which is a guide designed by Shauna that utilizes the materials included in The Journal Journey Travel Set. Regularly utilizing this set will not only spark your creativity, but it will help free up your deepest feelings allowing you to process those feelings and harness the healing that we all deserve.
Shauna is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor who utilizes a holistic, integrative approach in the work she does with individuals who are experiencing emotional challenges as a result of chronic stress and trauma. She stated that she “poured [her] heart into developing The Journal Journey Travel Set” because she knows from both personal experience and her work with individuals experiencing life challenges, how transformative a creative journaling practice can be. She is also giving our tribe a chance to win her The Journal Journey Travel Set, keep reading until end for giveaway entry instructions.
Keeping a dream-diary can be intriguing. Just scribble down words and images that come to you when you’re in that in-between place; these fragments may hold clues to greater self-knowledge. Another example of the power of your own writing is The Letter You’ll Send on the Twelfth of Never. We all carry with us The Great Unsaid, the truth we never spoke to power, the deep hurt we never revealed, a regret we never admitted, the unrequited love that secretly broke our heart. There is tremendous relief in letting this stuff go, but often we can’t. Why? Because we haven’t confronted and fully processed the trauma in order to release it. Writing it out, including every bit of that anger, shame, grief, sorrow, fear, whether addressed to a specific person, or written more as a narrative, may stain your page with teardrops, and those tears may be the beginning of a long-overdue healing journey.
The person to whom the Twelfth-of-Never letter is addressed may well be deceased. Clearly, that recipient cannot change the past—nor can you. But by expressing yourself on paper, you can shape the present moment, and proactively welcome the future of your own imagining.
The Journal Journey Travel Set GIVEAWAY!!!!
The package contains:
- Beautiful Intentions dotted journal
- The Journal Journey Process guide
- A set of high-quality dual-tip pens
- Decorative paper & washi tape
- Acrylic paint pens
- A glue stick