We so often walk through life underestimating the power of words, yet the language we use to craft our stories is the same system that will re-shape our perception of our own life. To a large extent, we are masters of our stories simply because every “why”, “but” and “maybe” also guides our actions and our decisions. Then again, there is a limitation to our control, since the very beginning and the end of our story will be told by others – our parents, friends and children. They affect our inner wordsmith, and they have this great responsibility to tell the bits of our stories that we could never tell.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this ancient art of storytelling has a profound healing effect on us, on allowing our lives to tread a different path from the one we envisioned as the only possible one. Perhaps this can be your way out of your current mindset, since it all starts with the skillful use of words to recognize and overcome the predicament in which you find yourself at any stage in your life.

The power of habits

A single glass of lemon-water in the morning will not do much good if you do not persist with the practice for weeks on end. The same goes for choosing a healthy meal over fast food or spending time with positive people as opposed to surrounding yourself with perpetual grouches. But one day at a time, this one little change in your behavior, from saying yes to rising early, to swapping sodas with water, will manifest results all over your life.

We can do little to transform our entire lives overnight, especially since one negative situation typically results in an avalanche of chaos and poor decision-making, and attempting to make it all go away can lead to an even greater confusion. What may seem like a small step forward, such as choosing every word and setting a timeslot for your daily writing can lead to incredible changes in how you perceive your life, and thus let you root out many other culprits of your unhappiness.

How to begin journaling

Even if you do have the desire to start rewriting your life story, you might be wondering where to begin. Most of us aren’t taught this simple skill, although it perhaps came naturally when we were kids and teens trying to process our thoughts and emotions. It’s not much different no matter your age or your circumstance, since all you need is a set of ballpoint pens and an actual notebook for you to take the first step.

Just like you would schedule a meeting with your lawyer, set aside ten minutes per day for writing, and make it about your inner world, not just a note on what is happening in your life. Reflect on your feelings, needs, and moods, and create an inspiring nook to keep your motivation going – switching off your digital gadgets, your TV, and having a well-lit, comfortable space is essential to make this an enjoyable journey towards change.

Building gratitude

Another thing most people lack in their attempt to start journaling is the key motivator, that one “why” to keep up the habit despite the busy schedule and the hectic family life. The key lies in perspective, or paying more attention to the words you choose, which will then start to affect your thinking patterns to be more positive and happiness-oriented.

If you need to kickstart your habit with something specific, why not make it a gratitude journal? Make note of at least three things you have been grateful for during the day, and general ideas you appreciate in your life. That way, you will generate positive thoughts and put a positive spin even on the darkest moments that would otherwise wreck your mood.

Facing and shaping the facts

The process of writing is a fluid one, so let it take new shapes with time, as you learn to recognize the patterns in your thinking and feeling. If a particular event has wreaked havoc on your life, whether it’s the loss of a loved one or a painful betrayal, you can first portray it as you initially perceive it, but then, shift your perspective to see how this may help you grow.

Will you become a stronger person? Value life more? Cherish your friendships? Focus on the good memories? Let it build your resilience? Let it become a lesson instead of a failure? Most of the time, everything that happens to us will be only what we make of it. Good or bad, you will choose how it will affect the plot of your story and its outcome.

Preparing for a mindset shift

We’re all dealt different cards, from winning the lottery, to getting cancer, the range is so wide and versatile that it’s impossible to comprehend. However, what you do with them is entirely up to you. Did you know that writing helps you heal faster even on a physical level, sleep better, hone your creative skills, among many other things?

Then just imagine how deeply it can alter your thinking patterns, and allow you to take a new stand when there’s a crisis to handle,or just a beautiful moment to cherish – which we so often fail to do simply because we’re immersed in the past, or too absorbed in the future. Writing helps you appreciate this particular moment in time, and it lets you reshape your present, your past, and your future, so that you can cherish them all. 


  • Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs. She is passionate writer, a traveler and conscious consumer, seeking healthy and sustainable products to incorporate into the lives of her family. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.