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Insights for Better Mental Health - Just Write It: May 2021

Steve Soreff, MD
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The idea for a better mental health derives from the amazing power of simply writing things down. Wow, what is that all about? Here are several examples of that. Mary Kay, of the pink Cadillac fame and the cosmetic world, began her business consultant career by telling executives to start each day with a list of six things to be accomplished that day. This proved to be very effective advice and proved to be very successful. This list not only provided goals for the day but also a place to check off your accomplishments. Here are several more examples. Remember how much more effective your weight loss or miles run programs were when you kept a record aka writing the results down each day. Or to get Biblical, Moses first came down the mountain with oral 10 Commandments. But G-d called him back so they could be written on down on two stone tablets for all to see.

Returning to the theme, just write it, writing is powerful. One of the neat tools in psychotherapy is called journaling. The therapist asks one simply to write down each day one’s emotions, thoughts and behavior. It offers productive avenue for self-evaluation, reflection and growth. Or to go to the other extreme, there is old legal adage, “an oral contract is not worth the paper it is printed on!” From my days doing Quality Improvement at Westboro State Hospital, there was this keystone rule of medical documentation; “If it is not written, it did not happen.”

Taking another tack, your mobile phone or computer can also be as an effective method of "just write it". I know many folks who not only count their steps each day but also keep a longitude record for each walk. This allows one to both see progress and provides a neat graphic chart of it. Others use the computer program to track what and how much they eat. And, of course, one could follow weight loss or gain depending on the circumstances.

Whatever method you select, the basic idea is that transforming thoughts into visible products have profound powerful effects.

Steve Soreff MD is not only the Nottingham Reporter for “The Forum” but also a retired psychiatrist and university professor. He is now a mental health educator and lecturer. His website is