There is a wonderful exercise that many business people have to do each year to get ready for tax time, and it is called “balancing the books.” To do it, you record all the expenses for the year, and you balance them by recording all the income. By doing this, you get a clear picture of what the business has lost or gained over the course of the year. Being honest about this is vitally important for the health of the business, and in turn, for the health of our whole economy.
You can balance the books, too, now at the autumn equinox—the next time you are in a tight spot, uncertain of your next step, unhappy and stuck, or angry and spinning, sit down with your journal and write about the situation in a way that balances both emotion and event.
Take five …
If you are drowning in feeling, give yourself five minutes to discharge the emotion, using “I feel … ” statements.
Then, for five minutes, switch to a more objective or journalistic style: Write what happened to trigger these feelings—the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Let yourself get the story out.
If you are an analyzer, try the opposite and give yourself five minutes to analyze what happened.
Then switch. Download your emotion onto the page for five minutes. Let yourself feel.
Research by James Pennebaker has actually shown that journaling in this balanced way can help reduce chronic pain from recurring conditions such as asthma and arthritis.
Do your own research. Try balancing your books and see what happens.