Health Benefits of writing your life story

There is an increase in people wanting to write their life stories in Australia. The practice is well established in America, Canada and Europe and finally, Australians of all ages are taking the step to document their life story and the rewards are satisfying and significant. It will mean so much to you and your family

Your Life Story in a book will mean so much
Your Life Story will mean so much to your family

There is significant research and evidence to say that writing about aspects of your life is therapeutic. It helps the mind work through events and emotions, gives structure and an opportunity to reframe and re-evaluate decisions and relationships, and can allow perspectives to be reshaped.  It also allows your life to be remembered as you want it remembered for generations to come and your life messages passed on. Your future family will be able to connect with you.

One of the most surprising benefits of storytelling relates to health. Engaging your brain to explore and record your memories is an activity that has multiple positive outcomes. It can bring into focus the positive and negative events of your life, reframe your life journey and increase family communications and understanding.

Writing your life story brings focus

Simple storytelling gives an opportunity to focus the mind and allow the journey of your life to unfold. It will give a perspective that perhaps has been elusive as the journey of life has been lived. It can also give context to complex situations and promote self-belief and understanding. Reflection can lead to alternative insight and promote connections between family and friends.

  • Storytelling will unleash emotions and link experiences of a life long lived. It allows events to be revisited and reframed through insight and retrospect. It is an exhilarating experience that re-establishes self-esteem, skills that may have been forgotten and relevance to culture and surroundings. This has an impact on one’s sense of purpose and identify and can decrease depression, anxiety or isolation.
  • Simple storytelling gives an opportunity to pass along wisdom and life messages to family members and friends. It allows future descendants to connect with someone who has faced challenges and overcome them, lived a life that they can relate to or has similar skills and attributes that mean something.
  • Each person has a unique and firsthand experience of their culture and history. The life story is embedded in their personality, their attitudes, their skills and their experiences. It is important and if not told and recorded, will be lost forever.
  • Establishing a family tradition of writing life stories is a powerful tool for strengthening the family connectivity and unity and valuing the extended family unit. It may become the vine that some may cling to in times of need, or it may be the vine that others will climb as a sign of their appreciation and honour.
Tell your grandchildren your story and show them your photos. They will have so many questions.
Tell your grandchildren your story and show them your photos. They will have so many questions.

Writing your life story will bring a tear

Never have I worked on a life story with a client without emotional or maybe even traumatic memories being revisited. Sometimes it is about loss or missed opportunities or perhaps it is about something so small that it never was discussed but managed to change the direction of your life. I remember an elderly lady cried as she told me about how she cared for her siblings after her mother walked out on the family. She did it so well, the household ran like clockwork and life was manageable. One day a younger sister decided that she would like the job of running the household and dismissed my client and took her role. This changed my client’s life and her emotional health, and she embarked on a life journey that was extremely difficult for a young girl. The client had never told this story before, but here it sat in her written memoir for her family to understand the hidden journey of her life.

There is now significant research around the value of writing your life story and revisiting emotional and traumatic memories and it is found it to be therapeutic and an effective cognitive fitness tool.  The natural tendency is to avoid upsets and suppress thoughts about negative events in our life when our mind is most at peace when thoughts are processed.

Your life story is powerful

Writing our life story is a powerful opportunity to increase understanding and appreciation for the life we have lived and the contributions we have made to society and family

 

Contact us
Contact today

Contact today

Contact Write My Journey and ask for Rose Osborne

m: 0407 487 495

e: info@thewritingshed.com.au

 

 

 

Other reading

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/the-health-benefits-of-writing-your-life-story

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-story-of-your-life-and-the-power-of-memoir

 

How to start my life story

How do I start my life story?

My life has been so long.

This is the question I get asked every time a potential client contacts me.

It’s true your life has been long and so much has happened. Approaching the documenting of your life is worthy of consideration before you commence and the skills of a life writer are there to help you on your journey.

life story
Just start your life story – just start

How to start my life story – a few pointers

 

  • Make the commitment.

Many obstacles will fall into your path as to why you shouldn’t start your journey of commencing your family legacy. There are too many to name but here are just a few; ‘too expensive’; ‘too much work’; ‘don’t want to remember it all’; ‘what will the family think’; ‘will I seem like a loser’.

Well, some of those things are true and some aren’t. You won’t seem like a loser – in fact, people will admire you and wish they had done the same. Yes, it is work and yes, it is expensive but so is anything worth having.

You don’t have to remember it all, and you don’t have to document it all. Your life writer will help you through this. Yes, there will be some memories you wish you didn’t have, and yes, you may shed a tear or two – but life writers are skilled at supporting you through that.

Making the commitment to do your legacy for your future generations has to be first and foremost.

  • Contact your life writer and be honest about your budget and your story.

    start my life story
    Be honest with your life writer

Deciding on how much you wish to spend is just another financial decision like others you have made through your life. Some customers say they wish to just get their life story in print and don ‘t care about the cost. Other customers prefer the package deal used by Write My Journey and you buy a unit – you know where you are at each point in the project.

 I think being honest about your story is also important. Some people say they want the minimum budget and then expect to get everything in. I don’t think this is fair to them and certainly not fair to the life story writer.

Being honest about your expectations up front is most important. Compiling your life story is no different to any other service you may have done – both you and your contractor have to know what is expected to obtain a great result.

  •  Do an overview

 Your life writer will do an overview of your life journey and help you put it into chapters. Together, you will work on each chapter until it is complete. This is a very flexible working system and even if you jump from one chapter to another, your final product will be organised and complete.

Keeping to your chapters helps you keep to your budget and control over your story, at the same time as allowing you to adjust your budget and content.Some customers prefer to make notes as they think of different times of their life. Others prefer just to talk and let their memory take them down its path, opening whatever gates come their way. Photos are great and any other memorabilia you may have. Discussions with other people are great memory boosters, as are journals, old calendars or even just googling dates to see what was happening in the world at that time.

  •   Life Stories are boring

A common comment I hear from people is that life stories or biographies are boring to read. I agree with this and therefore, I place the responsibility with the life writer to guide the narrator in the creation of a book that readers can’t put down.

Most people think they must include every single bit of information they remember. That is not true. You can, of course, include everything, but that will be reflected in a bigger budget. Most people will take snippets of their life to reflect their journey, e.g. if you are a cricket player, you could just highlight your most memorable games, rather than every game.

  • Final TipStart my lif

A final tip is not rush it. Knowing that documenting your life story is going to take time and work in the narration, reviewing and reviewing is a fact, so it is wise to keep your deadline in the distant months or even a year.

Writing Life Stories 

Life Stories Australia Inc. 

How to start my life story
Life Story Professionals are life story writers

Write My Journey is a foundation member of Life Stories Australia, the Industry Association for life story professionals.

Start My life Story    Start my life story   Start my life story   Start my life story

 

 

 

Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.

people feel the rain
Some people feel the rain. Others just want to get wet.

Some people feel the rain is about life perspective and taking ownership of attitude. What a wonderful gift is within our grasp to make a difference to future generations. Telling the story of your life, your challenges and your conquests and weaving in your life lessons, your morals and ethical decision-making could just make the difference to a young great-great-grandchild.

Do you lead with your heart, enjoying the beauty in challenges and embracing life and every wonderful second of it?  Or are you allowing the wetness of the rain to accentuate your every little mistake and dampen your soul and spirit so your life choices reflect a coping attitude rather than a celebration?Continue Reading

Photos and words make your memoir powerful

memoir
Photos and words together are powerful

Is a photo worth a thousand words? Apparently not – that is unless you interact with the photos rather than just accumulate boxes of them under your bed or in a digital file somewhere. Photos and words make your memoir powerful and the story of who you are clear and memorable.

Relying on technology to record an event can detract from the experience and so the personal memory-formation of an event[i]. Emotion has a powerful impact on our memory.  We recall events that have meaning for us in some way. It is a way of holding onto what we consider significant moments in our lives.  Reflecting on a photo will help bring those memories forward although sometimes a photograph can affect our recall as well.

A group photo came to life recently of family members forty years younger. One family member was partially hidden behind someone else. Three people claimed the identify of that lone little body; and tempers did fly a little in the process. The matter was settled when one party drew attention to other details in the photo and gave them context.

Continue Reading