Try Keeping a Memory of the Day (MOD) Journal

I had an idea today that I am very excited about trying. Just 11 days into this year, every single day has had at least one thing rather memorable for me. I’m not going to be able to remember it all, or at least all at once, in the long run, so I thought I’d do a journal where I decide on a Memory of the Day or MOD for each day.

With it, I’ll also record “candidates” vying for each day’s title, meaning other things memorable, no matter how big or small. A candidate today that won’t win is my coming across coconut bread on sale while impromptu grocery shopping with time to spare between events. I had never eaten coconut bread before so I figured a $2 risk was worth taking to try it. It’s quite good! Small life changer there that if I ever come across it again, I’ll definitely buy it!

News of David Bowie’s passing will probably take the title today, though. The memories don’t always have to be good, though news of his passing led to a lot of happy times recollection about his music, character and influence in my world today. Bad memories might not seem pleasant to document, but for me, if there are enough of them in a row, I’m going to work that much harder to make sure the next MOD ain’t gonna be one of those bad memories. That’s just who I am as a person.

I realize not everyone can document a lot of bad moments in their lives with positive impact, so this idea isn’t for everyone. However, I think there’s enough merit in it for everyone to at least try to know. It certainly has never been easier with apps rather than something like a word processing document that is cumbersome to handle some nice, but rather limited, formatting you might want in a journal.

Now all I need to decide is which app to use for this that is iOS, Android and Web compatible. I have an iPhone with an Android tablet for reasons forced on to me by life, and I like the idea of a Web backup like GoogleDrive. Flava and Penzu seem to be my choices, with links provided being to one set of reviews, but neither seem ideal. Penzu requires paying for some features I want, whereas Flava seems to have taken off their Chrome extension. Their own website’s link to the Chrome store is broken and I can’t find it in there. It’s quite nice otherwise. As a result, I’m also going to try Journey and see if their quirks like only one photo per page and no videos have been eliminated.

I get the feeling my MOD 2016 book is going to be quite a read by the end of the year! Or at least I’m gonna do my darnest to make it so!

Good luck if you try it yourself!

Writing Diaries and Poetry Help Regulate Emotions

My B.Sc. university years rank among the poorest in my life if I were to rank them. I won’t waste your time with why, but the biggest thing I did then to help alleviate the pain was to start writing poetry. Not the sadistic or pathetic kind that makes a reader want to join me in slitting wrists or something as bad for one’s health as the blues I was trying to manage. That’s manage, not cure. And I also wrote lots of poetry.

I wrote poetry because it worked to help get my mind out of my situation. It made me think about good and beautiful, even if sadly beautiful, stuff. It was the free flowing emotional artistic word counter-balance to the disciplined logical scientific numerical stuff I was doing in an Honours Chemistry degree driven by mathematics in X-ray crystallography and inorganic chemistry. Studies were good, profs were great but other things in life weren’t fitting together, including a future I knew would not include chemistry for the benefit of my health. I can give you lots of other reasons why I wrote poetry, but it would all be rationalizations of the impact writing poetry had on me, not causality.

Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman

Well, today, an interesting article appeared in the UK Guardian about how writing diaries, poetry, fake song lyrics and such help regulate emotions.

“Writing seems to help the brain regulate emotion unintentionally. Whether it’s writing things down in a diary, writing bad poetry, or making up song lyrics that should never be played on the radio, it seems to help people emotionally,” Dr Matthew Lieberman said.

With the benefit of additional learning in the past few years, primarily on Emotional Intelligence, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. The story is among the many I generally classify as science validating what ancient wisdom has taught us. Ancient sages were not stupid, of course. They just didn’t have the means to scientifically measure and validate some of the things they philosophized on. They couldn’t measure brain waves and such, but it doesn’t take a scientist with such a measurement to notice patterns in human behaviour and impacts. That is, you don’t need scientific proof to attain wisdom.

I had already realized my decision to take up and continue writing poetry was among the best decisions I have made in my life. This was just more affirmation. In taking up poetry writing, I essentially took the worst years of my life and created out of it one of the things I now and will always be most proud of in my life, my poetry collection. It doesn’t matter to me how good or bad it really is. I feel really good to be able to say I have my own poetry collection, much of which came in the darkest times in my life.

I still write poetry, but I’ve long noticed I tend to do it when I’m not feeling the greatest. There are exceptions to that rule, but sometimes, it’s an indicator to my denial things aren’t really as bad as they are. The fact I wasn’t and still sometimes not able to rationalize how things really are with me emotionally is not surprising. Emotional intelligence is not meant to be rationalized easily. It has its own rationalization system, if you will. Often, you will only know later why certain moves you made turned out so well, because the rational brain couldn’t think fast enough or foresee such solutions. Despite realizing this, though, I am struggling to make sense of my decision to dedicate March to songwriting. It was a rational decision to put some time towards doing something I want to do more of but haven’t prioritized high enough in my life lately. I’ve only written three completed songs, one of which is on a MySpace page. But is it really rational, or is my amygdala playing games with my head again? 🙂

Stay tuned to find out!

p.s. The referenced article above said nothing on blogging, but considering I don’t often blog on just my personal stories, I don’t consider it to be so for me. I would consider it to be true for bloggers who blog about their personal lives because that’s just a public diary then.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.9