Ending Relationships: When and Why You Should Burn Bridges

They say, “don’t burn bridges.” But some relationships are better ended. Understanding when and why to burn a bridge is not the only key to your well-being but fulfilling your potential.

Cutting off people is one of the most difficult things to do. Saying “no” is already hard enough especially for me (this article may help).

I have repeatedly run into the wrong crowd because I did not have the gumption to just turn them down. Likewise, I ended up in bad relationships that left me with nothing but painful lessons.

Most recently, I met an amazing person through the Tinder dating app. We had fun that night and I asked for her number and we continued to text.

She wanted me to visit her before she left for overseas and I was unsure mainly because I did not want to start anything that I knew would have to be cut eventually. I was already in that situation before.

The tension reached a boiling point when I made a scathing tweet about a lady at a gym and she blew up on me.

It came out of nowhere, but I interpreted this as her venting due to her disappointment with my fickleness.

I enjoyed the few moments we spent but this was an example of a bridge that needed to be burned.

The Three Questions Everyone Needs to Ask Before Burning Bridges

My short-lived relationship with my Tinder encounter isn’t exactly the typical type of relationship that needed ending. It’s a bit more complex sometimes and is almost like cutting off your ex-flames.

I usually ask myself three questions to determine if my relationship with someone is worth keeping:

  • Do we make each other happy?

  • Do we help each other grow?

  • Does spending time together lead to something beneficial for both of you?

If the answer is “yes” to all three, this is the type of relationship that shouldn’t just be kept but cherished. Keep strengthening it. Fight for it. These are the friends we need.

If the answer is “yes” to two of the three, the relationship is worth keeping but also needs work. There are likely areas that are stagnating between the friendship. With a little work, we can make each other even better.

If the answer is “yes” to one of three, the relationship is stagnating. Spending time with these “friends” may start incurring just as many costs as benefits. I might be getting tired or missing the point of why we even hang out. These relationships need plenty of work or they will fall to the next category.

If the answer is “yes” to NONE, then this is the relationship that needs to be cut. Pronto.

This is the bridge that gets burned. Hell, in some cases, the bridge needs to be bombed. Obliterated.

Breaking it down this way makes it seem easy to determine which friends are worth keeping and which aren’t. But often I just go on living my life and being an ENFP, I have a high tolerance for people’s bullsh*t.

This list helps me determine who to spend time with and who to start avoiding.

Ex-flames tend to be wild cards because there are a lot of personal feelings that skew the questions. That is the one exception here.

But with everyone else, these questions must be asked.

As I get older, my tolerance for crap gets lower. And I assume it’s the same for almost everyone.

The closer we get to our inevitable demise, the more valuable our time becomes. That’s why it’s best to get rid of “friends” and people whose relationships may only be hurting more than helping.

If you have people in your network and they only cover one of the questions, they could fall into one of the following categories of people.

Enablers & Bad Influencers

These are friends who make us happy but don’t help us grow and spending time with them doesn’t always lead to anything beneficial outside cheap thrills.

Popular examples of these types of people are drinking and smoking friends or any friend you hang out with mainly because of a vice or a trivial activity.

While they aren’t necessarily bad people, spending too much time with them can be counterproductive and won’t lead to much growth or positive outcomes.

Why You Should Burn the Bridge: because most of the time you spend with these “friends” is spent on vices, the friendship will lack any real value. Continuously hanging out with them will also worsen bad habits and be detrimental to your overall health.

How to Grow the Relationship: find other things to do with them outside of boozing or doing drugs, if possible; you may already have other things in common like a hobby. Start here and develop a relationship that goes beyond simple vices.

Secret Manipulators & Fake Friends

These types of “friends” are difficult to. Hanging out with these people may lead to something beneficial on the surface but isn’t helping you grow and you don’t feel that deep sense of happiness.

People who fit this category may be secretly using you for their own ends. If you have “friends” who you don’t know on a personal level despite how long you’ve been together, that is a red flag.

They aren’t completely fake because they like something about you whether it’s your status or wealth or abilities. But the moment you lose that which they want, they will disappear.

These people may be “social climbers” or people who ride on others’ coattails. They are likely not new at this game. They will make themselves useful, so it will be hard for you dispose of them.

Maybe they’ll offer their own services or introduce you to other people. They will offer something back in return.

Why You Should Burn the Bridge: because these people care more about themselves than they do about you. The moment things go sour, they are likely to vanish. They are the type to love you when times are going well but ignore you once it isn’t. You deserve better treatment than this.

How to Grow the Relationship: this is a difficult relationship to grow because it comes from something superficial; maybe these people don’t really care about you and are just using you. But if they have some shred of decency within them, you may be able to appeal to their human side.

Get to know them personally. Make sure they open up to you and share their own vulnerabilities and personal stories. Once you learn this part, you may develop a genuine relationship.

Controllers and Judgers.

These friends are the ones who you don’t always get along with, but feel is still out for your best interest.

We all have that friend who thinks they know what’s best for us. They can’t help it.

Maybe they see you as a little sibling and constantly undermine you. They make decisions for you, ignore your ideas, and always judge you and your choices.

These friends are invaluable because they are the most likely to give us different viewpoints and challenge our lifestyle. They can also do what’s best for us when we don’t know it.

They are opposite to the fake friends and enablers because they care about you (even if they aren’t fully aware of it). What can make a relationship with them troublesome is the stress they bring.

Why You Should Burn the Bridge: because they kill the joy out of everything. They don’t respect you and continuing the relationship will be bad for your self-esteem and mental health.

How to Grow the Relationship: stand your ground and assert yourself but do it without appearing too belligerent. Have faith that these friends really do care about you but need to be shown the way. Find out what they need help with and help them. The sooner they can see you as an equal, the better.

Toxic People: Burn these Bridges ASAP

Now for the people in your life who don’t make you happy, don’t help you grow, and don’t lead to anything beneficial, cut them out immediately.

While none of us wants to be that friend who abandons a friend, it’s unhealthy for both parties if you continued.

There are many types of people like this but the most obnoxious is the Negative Nigel/Nancy. They are constantly critical, angry, and are the biggest buzz-kills.

If you are forced to deal with them (because of work or unavoidable circumstances), there are strategies for that. But if you don't, cut them out.

Just a few days earlier, a Facebook friend and former co-worker unfriended me because I told him off on my page.

This guy was the prototypical “Angry Atheist” and a complete Nazi towards religion. He only shows up, coincidentally, when I make a post about religion.

It could be something light-hearted like an interesting tidbit about Bible history.

In comes Angry Atheist shutting it down essentially saying “why bother talking about it? It’s religion. It shouldn’t exist. Don’t encourage discussions about make believe sh*t.”

And get this: he accuses me of being close-minded and not wanting to talk with people who have opposing views.

I enjoy listening to other people’s views unless they are shouting it in my face  or they have already made up their mind and are just listening so they can say something back.

Do not bother reasoning with these types of people. You’ll have better luck achieving world peace.

It is never easy to end relationships, but it is necessary.

Doing so not only frees you from people who hold you back but also allows you to spend more time with the people who help you become better.

What Social Media Suits Each Justice League Member

Despite how powerful and all-knowing the Justice League can get, they still need to stay connected with the rest of the world. After all, they need to understand the people they have sworn to protect, and social media is the bridge that will connect them.

Just like how every member of the Justice League has their own set of powers and roles, so does social media.

Beyond Facebook, there are close to a hundred other platforms all designed for a function. But as busy as the Leaguers are, they won’t be spending most of their days dabbling through dozens of social media (and neither should regular people).

Instead, there are one or two specific platforms best suited for each league member. Depending on their role, character, and skillset, here are the social media platforms that suit each Justice League member:

Superman: Facebook

The most popular superhero (Batman fans will argue vehemently) gets the most popular social media platform. Facebook has over 2.2 billion active monthly users and is the most recognizable platform.

It’s also the platform that has the oldest user base on average. Yep, Facebook is for the oldies. All the young’n’s are mostly using Snapchat or Instagram.

Superman, despite virtually never ageing, is the most old-fashioned member of the league. Countless iterations later and he’s still the prototypical boy scout who leans right on the political spectrum.

Not that Facebook caters to right-winged users, but it’s not as skewed towards progressives as other platforms like tumblr.

Facebook is perfect for Supes because it’s one of the most user-friendly platforms. It’s also where most of its users are authentic and are on the platform to socialize, champion a social cause, or take part with the numerous groups on it.

As someone who probably still prefers to take walks in the park and drink coffee without looking through his phone, Supes hardly cares to dabble with the dozens of social media accounts. But he needs to stay connected with the world to some degree. Hence why Facebook should suffice.

Batman: LinkedIn

It’s hard to imagine Batman giving a hoot about social media. The man doesn’t even socialize unless he’s out wearing his mask as the billionaire playboy, Bruce Wayne. And that’s where LinkedIn fits in.

It’s more accurate to say that Bruce Wayne, not Batman, needs LinkedIn. As the majority shareholder and face of Wayne Enterprise, Bruce needs to show some transparency. Creating a business page for Wayne Enterprise is a given but he could set one up for himself.

Setting up his own page also allows him to connect with other individuals for both of his roles.

Among Batman’s many roles is being the human resources manager for the Justice League. No league member gets in or out of the world’s most powerful group without going through the Dark Knight.

As an ultra-resourceful hero, Batman probably goes through every social media or news source on the net to find the information he needs. If it’s on the web, he will find it.

And this isn’t limited to the Justice League, but the many people they deal with whether they are government agents or regular joe crooks.

LinkedIn would also offer him an additional resource to do a quick background check on the many Leaguers, especially since most of them still have day jobs.

Wonder Woman: tumblr

The Justice League’s most prominent female member fits perfectly with the most female-dominated platform. Tumblr is a hit among millennial women and is one of the best networks for progressivism.

Although mostly used for entertainment, tumblr serves as a great platform for social activism, which is right up Wonder Woman’s alley. Her sassy demeanour and propensity for snappy dialogue is a perfect match for the platform’s tone.

Facebook would be an alternative to Diana, who may be the most technophobic of the Leaguers. Growing up in Themyscira, she isn’t the type to spend eight hours a day going through a smartphone. But she is also the most socially conscious and the one who is most involved with the community.

Twitter would be too fast and spammy for her and Instagram just won’t hold enough depth to keep her interest.

It would take her a while to get into tumblr, especially with the different media she has to be acquainted with: GIFs, memes, pop culture references etc.

But what sets tumblr apart from the rest is how its users can create a blog around a specific theme or cause. Social causes with a liberal slant tend to be the most popular and as a champion of women’s rights and progressive values.

Cyborg: Mix (StumbleUpon)

As the most technologically savvy of the Leaguers, Cyborg could easily go through hundreds of types of social media platforms within a few seconds and not break a sweat. Having him on this list is kind of a formality. But let’s suspend some disbelief (ironically) and narrow it down to one, Mix.

StumbleUpon was around since before Facebook but has only started getting traction, especially after its revival as Mix. It’s kind of like Pinterest with a broader scope.

Users get to pick what they are into from a set of broad categories and Mix sets them up with various websites that fall within the space.

And just like Pinterest, users get to add and share their interests.

Cyborg could take this to a new level and create multiple accounts and go through every single website within every category. He could even make his own categories and subcategories allowing him to scrutinize every news item or data across the web. Hardcore.

Alongside Mix, Cyborg could also benefit from social news aggregators like reddit, Hacker News, and Digg.com.

For a superhero who processes exabytes of information like he was drinking a soda, Cyborg needs these platforms that provide as much info from around the web.

Aquaman: Pinterest

Pinterest is the fifth-largest social media platform just outside the big four (Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and Google+). Although it is a distant fifth, this is quickly becoming one of the most popular, especially among businesses.

It functions differently from the likes of Facebook and twitter and is a more tailored social media. Simply put, Pinterest is the social media for hobbyists.

Users create boards and pin different images that suit whatever theme or category they are into: fashion, home décor, recipes etc.

Living in Atlantis, Aquaman must have his own specific set of needs. Every Leaguer is unique but only one main hero lives underwater. That would make shopping a bit trickier (since Amazon probably charges extra to deliver there), especially since The King of the Seven Seas is still so fond of the human world.

With Pinterest, King Orin gets to create his own royal set of whatever he fancies. And it can double if he were to run an Atlantean business that caters to the surface dwellers.

Pinterest is invaluable in creating and propagating a need among potential customers.

Aquaman can create boards of the unique Atlantean home décor or new innovations in aquatic tech. And someone who can speak any language on Earth, he could easily cater to any demographic.

Flash: twitter

The fastest man alive gets the fastest social media. Twitter is the platform with ADHD. Even after they’ve increased their character count to 280 from 140, the point is still to create itsy bitsy content that takes five seconds or less to consume.

Twitter still operates a lot slower than a man who can literally run through the time and space continuum, but it’s a start.

Since Flash is also the ultimate multitasker, he’s become involved in a hectic lifestyle. Outside of being the Flash, he’s a husband, a father figure, and a scientist.

Barry Allen is also a curious thinker by nature and thanks to the Speed Force, can learn about many things at the snap of the finger.

Twitter allows users to customize their timeline using twitter lists. The platform also caters to what it deems most important to the user based on which kind of tweets and accounts they interact with.

What makes twitter shine is how it can single-handedly become a user’s source of news. A lot of news break on twitter and a lot of things that happen on twitter become the news. Flash could easily load his account with millions of news sources and he could sift through them within seconds.

Green Lantern: Instagram

There have been many to don the iconic ring but whether it’s Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner or John Stewart, Instagram is the ultimate social account for any of them.

As a content producer, the GL’s will give a new meaning to #travelgoals thanks to their space-faring occupation. Picture Jordan taking selfies on a lush living garden world that requires #nofilter.  Or Rayner posing with the Blue Lanterns in the colourful planet of Odym.

Their adventures would also be A+ material for Instagram stories and the newly launched Instagram TV. The Lantern Corp would shoot up the rankings of Instagram influencers within seconds.

They can also draw inspiration from the different accounts.

Stewart, who is the most technically gifted in his constructs would benefit from following machinists or engineers.

Rayner, who is a graphic artist creates imaginative constructs and would do well showing them off or following other artists to get new ideas.

And Jordan just loves to show off and is the stereotypical guy who is into anything death-defying.

Most notably, the GL Corps would kill #squadgoals with group selfies, especially if they collaborated with the other corps. The rainbow-coloured crews would fit right into the most visually-driven platform.

Four Life Lessons Learned from Covering Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

There’s nothing quite like the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) and in my three years covering the sport, I picked up a few life lessons.

For those who don’t know what that is, think UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), Georges St-Pierre and Ronda Rousey. Ring a bell now?

By definition, mixed martial arts is a full-contact combat sport that combines different forms of martial arts from wrestling to boxing to Muay Thai to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and many more.

I covered MMA for about three years. Despite not being a full-time “journalist”, I saw my fair share of fights, met media members and spoken to a couple of MMA fighters and personalities. I’ve learned quite a lot not just from the sport but lessons that are transferrable with regular life.

Unfortunately, my future was away from the sport, but I look back time-to-time with fond memories and valuable lessons it’s time to think back and reflect on the many lessons I learned from this sport.

In theory, the idea of watching two adults physically assault each other for money and entertainment seems like an ostentatious way to gain “wisdom”, but you learn a lot especially on business, human psychology, and how us savages treat each other.

Here are five life lessons I picked up from the covering the sport:

Our Instincts are in Constant Conflict

No sport makes you question your character more than MMA.

This highly entertaining sport delivers unbridled exhilaration driven by the literal blood, sweat, and tears of horrendously underpaid athletes making you feel like a junkie sh*thead for supporting such “violence”!

But at the same time, this is still a sport. It evolves every week. We’ve gone from utter savages swinging meat hammers senselessly to the most intricate martial artists playing a game of human chess. The sport’s superstars range from well-spoken role models like St-Pierre to vivacious hooligans like Conor McGregor.

The "Notorious" Conor McGregor at a press conference

I use the term “instinct” because it’s something that is innate in us. In combat, the “fight versus flight instinct” is eternally present and fighters who master the art of choosing the right instinct prevail.

As a spectator, our instinct to seek pleasure can and will conflict with our instinct to feel sympathy for others. These are feelings that just happen. And as an MMA fan, you will be dealing with these all the time.

The Highs are the Highest and the Lows are the Lowest

In MMA, almost every fight is high-stakes.

Winners have looked like a million bucks while losers have broken down. Consider the sharp contrast between the careers of two superstars: McGregor and Rousey.

McGregor won all but one of his UFC fights and became the sport’s most lucrative fighter even managing to get the second-most expensive boxing match against Floyd Mayweather. He became the sport’s biggest star and a worldwide icon.

His loss humbled him, and he went dark for an entire season. But his subsequent wins propelled him to the stratosphere.

The fame and success got to his head and he transitioned from being a comical character who razed press conferences at the expense of every poor fighter there to throwing dollies at buses and getting arrested.

Rousey won all but two of her UFC fights, but those two losses permanently scarred her. She quit the UFC after consecutive knockout losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes.

She went from the most intimidating female fighter, a juggernaut, and a destroyer to a seemingly weak-minded sore loser who can’t even muster the poise to face questions about her losses.

Ronda Rousey at an interview

Winning and losing has never been more polarizing than in MMA. A fighter’s profession, reputation, and mental state are all drastically affected by the outcome more so than any other sport.

The winners not only get extra cash, they also move on with their careers and get the admiration of fans (for the most part). While the losers take a step back and face the jeers of all the “keyboard warriors”.

Seeing as most MMA fighters are barely just getting by in life, a win or loss affects their careers a lot more significantly than a lost game for a sports team.

If you factor in their pride, months of hard work and physical damage, the elation of a victory juxtaposed with the misery of a loss speaks volumes.

The Mind Beats the Heart

This is the most painful lesson I’ve learned: the cold calculating individual usually succeeds more than the passionate yet emotional person.

I’m not suggesting that either trait are absent from each side. The former isn’t an automaton and the latter isn’t a dummy either. But, individuals who approach life with a more technical approach tend to accomplish things more successfully than one who is fueled by passion and emotion.

In MMA, this is obvious when the most dominant champions like St-Pierre and Jon Jones destroyed the opposition thanks to their cerebral and exacting approach.

In fiction we often see the protagonist overcome the obstacle with the sheer force of will. And while that may happen in MMA, it’s mostly the efficient fighter who prevails in the end.

It is rooted to the fundamentals of martial arts.

Emotion won’t drive you because it is less controllable, and it can hinder you. And most importantly, it is a finite resource.

People don’t stay happy constantly. They don’t stay angry all the time. It’s not physically possible.

Instead, rely on the power of the mind: the ability to control thoughts when it matters most.

Memories Don’t Last Because Life Moves Too Fast

It’s like being in a bullet train speeding through everything. All you can make out are glimpses of what appear to be shapes and colours. You can’t really make out what they are.

MMA is a fast-moving sport. It’s the perfect sport for some short attention span millennials.

There is an event every weekend almost from the big promotions.

UFC fighter Yoshiyuki Yoshida kicks his opponent, Josh Koscheck, during the UFC's Fight for the Troops event held at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C. Kosheck won the match by knocking out Yoshida 30 seconds into the first round. More than 9,000 Fort Bragg troops attended the charity event which benefitted veterans.

The UFC almost held more events in the last five years than they have for the first 20 years. It’s great to have so many events but it comes at the expense of leaving lasting memories.

A significant event lasts 24 hours if it’s big enough but it quickly gets buried or shoved to the backseat in favour of the next coming event.

This is terrible for the sport’s marketing. Even the most hardcore fans have such a short window to fully let an event sink in and truly comprehend how much it means.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes I get caught up in just doing, doing, doing, and the next thing I know five years have gone by. Where did the time go?

It’s why I make more of an effort to “slow things down” a bit and enjoy life a little bit more. What is the rush? What am I racing towards?

I want to make the most out of my life but is it worth not enjoying what is going on because I have to move on to the next thing?

It’s why a lot of movements like minimalism re-popularized by the likes of Joshua Becker are gaining steam.

Less action, more examination could mean better life satisfaction the same way fewer fights in a calendar year would make fight fans appreciate each event more.

7 Reasons Handwriting in a Journal is Invaluable for Writers

A few months ago, I was depressed and dealing with several addictions. An old friend reconnected and recommended I start a new hobby. That’s when I discovered why handwriting in a journal was an invaluable tool for writers.

When I say ‘journaling’, I mean literally writing on a notebook with a pen or pencil. Several visionaries today from Oprah to Richard Branson either write on a journal or consistently handwrite. It’s not a coincidence.

I highly recommend it even if you’re not a writer. Typing on a computer can have its benefits too but to get the full effect, you’ll need to go old school.

It wasn’t easy, to begin with.

Like any millennial, I barely handwrite. Thanks to smartphones, I don’t even write down phone numbers or people’s names anymore. I write slowly and illegibly.

But that’s why I kept it simple and stuck to a tiny little notepad that fit in my pocket. I made sure to limit myself to two pages (back and forth) so I would write as succinctly as possible.

Every day I would write about a variety of things:

  • Something to be thankful for
  • A new thing I did or tried
  • My feelings

I journaled at the end of each day or at the start of the next day.

It’s best to do it on one of these two times.

If you miss a day, you can still go back and write but your memory may not be as fresh.

It didn’t feel like it did anything for me at first. But I immediately felt more at peace every day I stopped for five to ten minutes just to write. And don’t just take my word for it. I did some research.

Here are seven reasons how handwriting in a journal can be a powerful tool for writers:

1. Great way to warm up

The mind is almost like a muscle. Before exercising, it is recommended to do some stretching and some warm-ups to optimize performance and minimize injuries. The same can be said for writing.

Handwriting in a journal when I wake up helps me get into the writing groove and helps me expel some of the “mental diarrhoea” in my head so I can be sharper for my more serious projects. The hardest part about writing is getting started and when you’re journaling, you make this process a whole lot easier.

One does not simply sit down and get into a “flow state”. Like exercising, pushing out words for the sake of can be a helpful exercise to get into it. Trying writing exercises is one thing. But something as simple as writing down on a notepad can help “wake you up”.

2. Creates new article ideas and improves creativity

I didn’t start handwriting in a journal because I wanted new ideas but that’s what they naturally evolved to. It’s like a stream of consciousness and you blurt out whatever comes to mind, and you’ll eventually find something worth sharing with people.

Since I started journaling 47 days ago, about 25 of these became article ideas including this one. Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages advocates this very process. She emphasizes keeping things simple and just letting things flow.

As writers, we can fall into the habit of overthinking and overcomplicating our content ideas. Who can blame us? We need to constantly produce content and it can be tough. But sometimes the best ideas come from the simplest things including your daily life.

Journaling helps us focus on the daily things we take for granted and gives us a fresh perspective worthy of turning into a 500 or 1000-word piece to share.

3. Stress relief

This one is obvious and is scientifically proven; we all need some form of relief, from all our thoughts and pains. I started journaling to get over my porn addiction, among other things. Sometimes putting things out frees stuff from your head and allows you to think more clearly.

A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that during a social experiment, students were able to improve their self-esteem through journal writing. Those who wrote positive thoughts on their body image remembered it while those who threw away their notes after writing negative admissions were at peace.

Another study suggested that students turn to handwriting in a journal to de-stress. Being a college student is one of the most turbulent moments in our development and handwriting in a diary, amidst all the smartphones and social media can still be a viable method of coping.

4. Set-up goals and accomplish them

I usually keep track of my goals on a weekly basis. I used to keep a more detailed “productivity chart” but I’m taking a break from it for now as maintaining it can be a task. Having a journal is like a less detailed but more organic way to keep me motivated.

There are many ways to stay updated on your goals. Keeping a journal is one of them. While in the middle of a project, writing it down in a journal will give you a set of notes you can turn back to. You can go track your development or go back to a reference point.

It’s also a useful way to find trends and patterns not just on your goals but on your life (depending on how long you’ve been journaling).

Handwriting also sends signals to the brain conditioning us to take what we write more seriously as opposed to texting on a phone or typing on a computer. We become more aware of opportunities tied to our goals.

Jotting down a to-do list on a stick-it note, or journal could prove to be a more effective tool than having a digital checklist.

5. It can help motivate you

I’ve felt inspired simply handwriting in a journal. Whether I was writing down my goals, being thankful for my blessings, or a combination of both, I felt a bit more uplifted. It gave me a sense of accomplishment, especially if I journal at the start of the day.

In fact, handwriting is scientifically proven to help make us happier, healthier, and more productive. It is therapeutic and helps develop intrapersonal communication: the thoughts we have in our heads. For writers, this is an essential skill to develop.

Studies have also found a link between handwriting personal goals and motivation. While I still have my tasks and schedule online, I make it a habit to write about what I’m doing all of this for in my personal journal. It not only enlightens me and helps me seem them in a new light, but also inspires me to take action.

6. Helps with short-term memory

A critical part of journaling is keeping track of your days; while I do “cheat” and skip journaling from time to time, I need to focus on remembering what happened on the days I am journaling about. This helps me improve my memory and keep track of what’s going on with my life.

Martin Conway and Sue Gathercole proved in a series of experiments at Lancaster University that handwriting helps with memory. And according to Agnes Szollosi, a professor at the University of Technology and Economics in Budapest, the best time to do so is during bedtime.

Handwriting in a journal just before bedtime is the most optimal way to sharpen memories. Just the effort you put into remembering the events of the day helps you be more mindful. And on the days you forget to journal, you’ll learn to develop this skill even further.

7. Develops Empathy and Humility

Nothing humbles me more than realizing I am a big screw up every day; maybe this is a bit harsh but since I’ve lost my full-time job and began writing “full-time”, I’ve been on a tight budget and have been spending so much time by myself I learn to better deal with my emotions.

When I write about them and think them through, I gain a bit more understanding of myself. While I still haven’t figured it out entirely, I’ve learned more about myself than since before I started journaling.

There are many creative ways to do journaling too. I mainly focused on just writing about my day and about my feelings. But here are a few exercises (designed for children but still applicable for adults) that can help brighten days, reduce stress, and help us understand ourselves.

Oprah’s Gratitude Journal is another great journaling tool to help you appreciate all the small good things in your life. I undertook this for a week and helped put me in a great mood just before getting a good night’s rest.

Handwriting in a Journal Will Make You A Better Writer

Writing on a journal daily is almost like having a therapist. While I won’t recommend substituting it for therapy, it can help you become a better person by helping you understand yourself and self-heal. It can help you expel your negative thoughts and makes you happier.

And a healthier, happier, and more focused writer is a better writer. Ditch the keyboard and monitor for a pen and paper and start handwriting in a journal again. You’ll be thankful you did.