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Science Proved That People Who Love To Write Are Smarter

Science Proved That People Who Love To Write Are Smarter

Everyone should write—not just professional writers.

You might say it’s easy for me to say that because I’m a writer. A singer can just as easily say, “Well, I believe that everyone should learn to sing.” But, out of all the creative means of expressions available to human beings, none intrinsically champions critical thinking, enhances creativity and improves clarity of thought quite like writing. Writing makes us smarter.

Here are some reasons (backed by science) why that is so:

1. Writing helps us untangle the messiness in our minds and allows for clearer thinking.

This is perhaps one of the most beautiful things about writing. In her book, Why We Write, curator Meredith Maran interviewed writers on why they write. Nearly all of them gave self-serving reasons, but there was a delightful, recurring motive of why people write: Writing provides a pocket of time in the present moment to reflect, digest and think deeply.

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Joan Didion, author of Play It as It Lays said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.”

Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City explained, “I write to explain myself to myself. It’s a way of processing my disasters, sorting out the messiness of life to lend symmetry and meaning to it.”

It’s not uncommon for one to think they have totally grasped a concept until they write it down and realize there are aspects of the concept they hadn’t quite thought about.

Writing, then, is a way to organize our thoughts. It allows us to reflect and helps us gain new insights and achieve new perspectives. You think more deeply when you write, and that helps you see things more clearly.

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2. Writing helps us absorb information better and learn significantly more.

Not only do you see things more clearly when you write, you also absorb information better and learn significantly more when you write down information given to you. That explains why students and attendees at conferences and meetings who take notes of lectures or speeches learn more than those who just listen to lectures and don’t write anything down.

Interestingly, according to a study published by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer from Princeton University and University of California respectively, students who take notes on paper learn significantly more than their peers who take notes on a laptop.

The researchers found that laptop users generally type almost everything they hear without devoting much thought to what they are writing. Basically, they are not processing the meaning of what they are taking notes on; rather they are mindlessly transcribing. Transcribing doesn’t require much cognitive activity.

Those who take notes by hand, however, obviously cannot write down every single word the speaker or professor speaks. So they have to listen more attentively, summarize the lesson, list only the key points and, consequently, learn significantly more. Your brain is fully engaged in the process of comprehension when you write by hand, which means you remember the information delivered to you better.

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Yes, we live in digital age and I bet you can’t imagine not using your laptop for work or studying, but you shouldn’t totally neglect writing in the good old fashioned way using a pen and paper.

3. Writing helps us process negative feelings and improves our emotional intelligence.

A 1994 study conducted by Stefanie Spera, James Pennebaker and Eric Buhrfeind tasked 63 unemployed engineers with writing to see the effect writing would have on their stress levels.

The participating engineers were divided into three groups: A writing control group (wrote about their plans for the day or activities in their job search), a second control group (did no writing), and the experimental group (did “expressive writing” where they kept journals of their deepest thoughts and painful experiences).

The engineers in the experimental “expressive writing” group wrote for 20 minutes every day, describing their feelings of loss, rejection, financial stress and so on in their search for a job. Three months later, “Five subjects in the experimental group got jobs, no writing control subjects got jobs, and two non-writing control subjects got jobs,” wrote the study authors.

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Eight months later, only 24 percent of writing control subjects had accepted full-time jobs, 14 percent non-writing control subjects had accepted employment, and a whooping 53 percent of experimental subjects found full-time employment. The conclusion from the study:

“Writing about the thoughts and feelings surrounding job loss may enable terminated employees to work through negative feelings and to assimilate and attain closure on the loss, thus achieving a new perspective. Doing so may create a shift in the individual’s orientation that allows getting past the negative emotions, preventing them from resurfacing and perhaps sabotaging the job search in, for example, a job interview.”

In other words, the researchers discovered that suppressing negative feelings is a heavy burden, and writing it out, not for publication but for oneself, is like a balm to chapped lips. Writing it out makes you emotionally intelligent and apt to deal with unpleasant situations.

Bottom line

The psychological benefits of writing (particularly using a pen and paper) are like the gradual benefits of exercising. You don’t often see the gains immediately, but the transformation is happening underneath. When writing, ideas are crystallizing; emotions are examined and questioned (not merely glossed over); and, creativity peaks as dots are connected.

And yet, like exercise, even after understanding how beneficial it would be to your life and work, many people still actively shun writing. Those who write, though, speak and think clearer and are often much smarter.

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Last Updated on August 21, 2018

15 Signs You’re an Old Soul and Think Differently

15 Signs You’re an Old Soul and Think Differently

If you’ve often felt slightly removed from the worries of today and miss the simplistic life of a time gone by, or somehow feel a little out of sync with what your peers are concerned with, there’s a chance you may be an old soul.

Being an old soul refers to how you view and approach life.

Your views echo those of someone much older than you, who has lived a long and fruitful life. You approach life with a greater sense of knowledge and wisdom coupled with a greater sense of inner wealth.

If you’ve ever met an exasperated 10 year old saying, “Kids today are so…”, or a 28 year old who says, “In my day…”, an awful lot, chances are you’re in the presence of a beautiful old soul. They’re often perplexed, and unable to relate to the things people their own age consider fun, or important, and so feel out of place.

They look at life through a vignette of experiences they may not have lived, yet, but somehow, just seem to know.

So if you’ve ever felt like you’ve lived before, and you have a wealth of wisdom you can’t explain, chances are you have been reincarnated—

—or maybe, you’re just an old soul!

Here are some tell-tale signs to help you find out if you’re an old soul.

1. You know there’s another way to do things.

You often say things like, “I have a feeling this will work”, or “there’s no harm in trying.” People may view your suggestions as outdated or done, but you know that sometimes, just sometimes, the tried and tested ways of doing things are best. Hey, if it ain’t broke…

You feel that not all problems require a new and innovative solution, and going round in circles when the answer may be staring you in the face is usually a waste of valuable time, and energy.

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You have no problem trying out new things, but know, too, that oldies can also be goodies.

2. You give advice well beyond your years.

You somehow seem to know how to do things you haven’t even done yourself yet. It’s like you’ve lived before, and just know how it all works. People often look at you with that “how do you know?” expression, and you respond with a confident, “I just know!”

Truth is, you do just know, but don’t know how you know. Those people who come to you for advice, though somewhat freaked out by your amazing prophetic powers to impressively offer solutions and predict outcomes, trust you wholeheartedly and don’t doubt your authenticity.

3. You like to think things through.

Even the most impatient of people will need to think things through if they are an old soul at heart. You need that time to maul it over in your head.

It’s an important part of your to-do process, and it enables you to move forward in the direction most in sync with your mind, body and soul.

To you, not being able to think things through, even a little, leaves you feeling uneasy, and that does nothing to help.

4. You don’t waste time asking why.

After you’ve thought things through, you move ahead, confident in the knowledge that you’ve done all you needed to do to get going.

You don’t waste time in trying to justify it to yourself or anyone else. You have little time and patience for the nonsensical and would prefer to utilize your time getting things done, rather than sitting around talking about getting things done.

In the end, you understand that whatever you do, you trust that all things work out just as they are supposed to, and you don’t want to question that wonderful process.

5. You don’t like to go out just for the sake of going out.

It’s quality over quantity for you. You love to go out and have fun, but going out because others feel it is required, or you look boring if you don’t, holds no merit for you.

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When you go out, you’d like to experience something; something that resonates with your way of perceiving the world and challenges you.

You’ll happily spend money on those things that give you wonderful experiences and broaden your horizons. Going out just because, seems pointless to you; you’d rather save your time, and money, and do something of quality.

6. You have an appreciation for old literature.

You respect the classics. You’re often found getting euphorically high off old books. You’ve probably sniffed a good few old books in your time, and you don’t care who sees.

For you, old literature should be respected and valued; they hold history and historical experience between their pages and deserve to be exalted.

7. You have old ears.

You love and appreciate the classics and have a longing for the musicality of those nostalgic tunes. Your record (that’s right, record!) collection looks like a retro music store. Probably only 10% of your collection consists of what you refer to as “nowadays” music, the rest are from decades gone by.

You know only a handful of today’s artists, and that’s only because you haven’t heard an album yet to rival your favorite Grateful Dead album, or your favorite Frank Sinatra track.

You don’t go out of your way to avoid modern music, it just doesn’t seem to whet your appetite. So you’ll happily pump your beloved Janis Joplin or Nat King Cole all the way home. Heaven!

8. You see no need in being unnecessarily stressed.

You don’t invite drama just because it makes you feel alive, no, you’d much prefer to live without it.

You appreciate the quiet, and invite peace. It’s become apparent to you that the world views stress and busyness as being productive.

But you know that being productive has nothing to do with being crazy busy or stressed, but everything to do with how well you utilize your time.

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So you’re mindful about what you spend your hours doing, and make sure your doing something worthwhile, and not just keeping busy for busy sake.

9. You love to meet new people.

To you, talking to people is enriching and adds to your experience of the world. This isn’t because you just can’t help chit chatting, but more so because you are genuinely fascinated by those you share this planet with, who can offer different perspectives.

You love being able to swap stories with people you’ve only just met. Plus, it also serves to make those trips to the bank all the more interesting!

10. You value deep connections.

For you, it’s all about quality over quantity. You require a deeper connection with those around you in order to feel any connection at all.

Half-hearted friendships, surface-level relationships and fly-by-night hook-ups are not your thing. You value the essence of deeper friendships and long lasting relationships, as you give yourself wholly to them, too.

11. You love learning.

Nothing gets you going more than learning more about yourself, other people and the world around you.

For you learning is growth, and growth is part of life. As an old soul, you approach learning from the understanding that it doesn’t have to lead anywhere, for example, a degree or certificate.

Sure, those things are great and offer a sense of accomplishment, but for you it’s the act of learning something new and wonderful that motivates you, not the initials after your name!

12. You don’t see the fuss about the latest craze.

Following others just to fit in? Where’s the fun in that? To you, being a style chaser or tech follower is something you can never quite get your head around.

Sure you may even own a Kindle or you may have an iPad, but now they sit there, gathering dust, because you miss the feel (and smell) or the real thing, and computer works just fine.

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You don’t really care whether you’re an early adopter or a late comer. None of the things defines you, and you’re okay with that.

13. You value the company of those much older than you.

You want to drink in their wisdom and you hang on their every word as they tell you stories of their youth. You laugh at their accounts of old trends, and cry at the war stories, you reminisce with them about long lost loves, and actually listen to their pearls of wisdom.

At a time when we seem to have less and less time for the more mature among us, the old soul has nothing but time to give. That’s because you appreciate what they have to share, and let’s be honest, you secretly wish for a time when life seemed so simple.

14. You are the epitome of calm.

You are the steadfast one, the one neither swayed, nor toppled, even in a crisis. You probably say things like, “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast,” and tell people to “Get a grip!”

To everyone else, you appear disconnected, but to those who know you well, you’re actually hard at work, you just work differently.

You’ve learned that nothing actually gets done if everyone is running around losing their heads; someone needs to be the calm force. This is just how you make sense of what is happening.

You stop. Wait. Listen. Then decide what steps to take next.

15. You truly understand what it means to give.

To you, there’s no better way to live, than to give.

Giving your time, or money or those things you simply have no need for is the most rewarding thing anyone can do with their short time on earth. It isn’t an ego thing, far from it.

For you, giving is the purest act of love. Plus, you see no point in holding on to things you cant take with you, so you’re more than happy to travel light!

Featured photo credit: Portrait of fashionable well dressed man with beard posing outdoors looking away, confident and focused mature man in coat standing outside at sunny evening, elegant fashion model via shutterstock.com

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