The Author of your Life

Are you the author of your life? Think of your life as a book, and each day a new page is written. Some of the things that happen are things that have to be done. You need to eat, sleep and take care of personal hygiene. There is shopping, cleaning, and washing. You will spend part of your time on your job. I discussed that on Monday.

But that still leaves a lot of time under your control. Think about whether you are spending that time in the right way for you. For some people, watching a movie on Netflix is the right choice. For others, it is keeping in touch with friends, or reading good books, or learning something new.

The test of your priorities is to write down in your journal what you did with your personal time each day. If you feel proud and happy to write about your day in your journal, you are on the right track. If you feel hesitant or shameful when writing down how you spent your time, that shows you that there is something you can change for the better.

Write it Down

Don’t let your bullying complaint evaporate. When you have been subjected to bulling or other inappropriate behavior, put down in writing what happened. That has two important effects. First, it makes your mind less likely to keep reminding you of the incident. Second, it allows you create a complaint that cannot evaporate.

When something important happens, good or bad, your mind recognizes it. Because it is important, your minds wants to hold on to it. That means it will regularly remind you in order to refresh the memory. For good memories, that is great. For bad experiences, you want to tell your mind that you got this on paper, so you don’t need any more reminders.

The people in your organization’s HR department or the school district have lots of things to worry about. If you report bullying, your important report might get lost in a pile of less important, but seemingly more urgent, tasks. But once a report is in writing, it cannot easily evaporate. It becomes a record in a system. There are people who will be evaluated on whether they address the complaints in that system. And if complaints about specific people pile up, they are more likely to be taken to task.

Track Your Sleep

Sleep is very important to our well-being. I used to struggle with my sleep and have to be very careful to follow my bedtime routines in order to get a good night’s sleep. 

Some studies show that more than half of us have sleep problems. If you suspect you’re one of them, there are many things you can do to improve your sleep. Surprisingly, we’re not very good at noticing how we sleep, so it can be hard to tell if the changes we make actually make a difference. If you keep a journal, write down when you go to bed and when you get up, and rate your sleep on a scale from 1 to 10 shortly after you wake up. If you turn that into a routine, your times and self-rating will show you if hot showers before bedtime, less TV, or more herbal tea is the thing you were missing.

Workplace Bulling

Working from home has decreased bullying by bosses and co-workers. Workplace bullying often happens in informal conversations, and there are simply fewer of these when working from home. If you find that you are actually happier and less stressed when working from home, that can be an indicator that you were having negative workplace interactions you might not even consciously notice.

Keep a log of how you feel (for example in a journal, as I discussed yesterday). Start now when you are working from home, and continue it once you get back to the office. If you find that you feel worse back in the office, start paying attention to the tone of your interactions at work. There might be subtle bullying happening that you don’t notice. 

Write a Journal

Are you writing a journal? It has known for centuries that journaling helps you deal with the questions and anxieties you are facing. Many great people through the ages have said that journaling was the most important way for them to handle the pressures of life and improve themselves.

For someone suffering from anxiety, the most important benefit of journaling is that when you write your worries down, some of the energy drains out of them. Negative thoughts about things you have written down will appear less or might completely disappear.

You can journal on your computer, on a mobile device or in a paper notebook. Try it and you will find it improves your life.