LifeJournal™ Newsletter – April-May 2003

In early April I attended the annual conference for the National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT) ( ). It was a very stimulating conference bringing together all kinds of people who understand and practice using the written word for healing. Rafael Campo, the keynote speaker, is the perfect combination of healer and poet. Trained at Harvard Medical School and practicing medicine near Boston, Dr. Campo has written four books of poetry, and earned three awards in the field of poetry and literature. Campo encourages his patients to write and gives them a poem or two as part of his medicinal package. Although I have no background in poetry, I was inspired to do a little research online and write a short article that you may find useful as a jumping off point to incorporate poetry into your journal writing.On the local front, I recently learned that I have been selected as a finalist for the Sarasota County’s Chamber of Commerce Woman’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award. I am honored by this recognition, and I have enjoyed expanding my perspective by meeting other local entrepreneurs.

Ruth Folit
Chronicles Software Company

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A Very Brief Introduction to Poetry and Healing 
Previous Survey’s Summary: With Some Explanations about Features which some LifeJournal Writers Find Confusing 
Book Review: Emotional Longevity
Helpdesk: A new tech support feature
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A Very Brief Introduction to Poetry and Healing

Freud wrote, “Not I, but the poet discovered the unconscious.” This seems like a good recommendation for writing poetry, if you are interested in using language as a doorway into your inner world. Here are a few websites to get you started. John Fox, the incoming president of the National Association of Poetry Therapy, has an excellent website ( ) that will inspire you and offer you some valuable information about the value of words as a pathway to healing. He has several exercises to get you started at his web page called Poetic Medicine Bag at He also has written several books, Poetic Medicine : The Healing Art of Poem-Making and Finding What You Didn’t Lose : Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making (Inner Workbook) that would be helpful if you are looking for further information.

For more information about poetry therapy online, go to these links:

For an annotated list of poetry resources online, visit .

Previous Survey’s Summary: With Some Explanations about Features which some LifeJournal Writers Find Confusing

During the last two months, we posted a survey asking readers to respond to questions how frequently they use different features of LifeJournal. And, if respondents rarely used a feature, we asked why that was the case. I’ve summarized some of the findings, and where it seems that there are misunderstandings about using the software I’ve added explanation.

The results of the survey show, not surprisingly, that the Daily Journal was the journal entry used most frequently, and the Dream and Life History entries were used less often. About 20% of the respondents used the Dream and Life History very often or often, compared to 75% who use the Daily Journal very often or often.

Most people are using the topics feature. However about 15% of the respondents reported they didn’t understand how to assign a topic to an entry. It’s quite simple to assign a topic to a journal entry, by taking the following steps:

1. Open a journal entry.
2. Click the appropriate topic in that Topics List (the column on the right side of the LifeJournal program).

That’s it! By clicking a topic in the List of Topics when you are working in a journal entry, you are assigning that topic to the entry.

Assigning topics to journal entries (or portions of journal entries) enables you to find a set of entries (or passages of entries) in just a few seconds.

If you first select a passage of text (by clicking and dragging the mouse over specific text) within the entry and then click the topic in the List of Topics, you will assign the topic to that text. If you’d like more detailed information about Assigning Topics, please read the article, Reference Guide for Assigning Topics: Making Full Use of LifeJournal, in the March 2003 LifeJournal newsletter.

Assigning Topics (the “sister” feature of Search), was underutilized by some LifeJournal writers. About one quarter of LifeJournal writers rarely or never used the Search function, and about 10% reported that they didn’t understand the feature.

Here’s a general explanation about the Search dialog that may help clarify the concept of how it works:

If you simply open the Search dialog (by clicking the circular eye icon) and ONLY click the Search button, ALL your journal entries will be displayed. By selecting from the different search criteria (journal types [daily, dream, or life history], words or phrases, range of dates, Daily Pulse values, or particular topics) you will reveal a list of only those journal entries that meet the criteria you have entered. Get more specific information about the Search dialog in the article, Basics and Beyond: Search and Review, May, 2001 LifeJournal newsletter.

By listing all the journal entries that meet the search criteria and reading through them, you may gain new perspectives. By juxtaposing two journal entries about the same topics–one written in February and the other written in November–you may see a connection or common thread that you hadn’t noticed previously. Going back to re-read journal entries can be a valuable part of the journal keeping process, and the search function is the key to doing that.

One good time to use the search function is when you are writing an entry and suddenly it sounds or feels familiar: that you’ve written about the issue or about a similar scenario before. After writing the new entry, perform a search on the familiar issue or scenario that reminded you of the other entry.

For me, it was rewarding to see from the survey results that almost two-thirds of the respondents used the Daily Pulse often or very often. This component of LifeJournal is very helpful in understanding life patterns and phases, and it seems that writers are enjoying this feature.

It appears that more people use the quotes than use the prompts: 38% used the quotes very often or often, compared to 22% who use the prompts very often or often.

About 25% of people responding didn’t realize that you could add your own prompts and quotes. This is a fairly straightforward task that you can accomplish by going to the Features menu and selecting either Quotes>Customize, orPrompts>Customize. Each command opens a dialog box where you can type in a new quote or prompt.

Thanks to the more than one hundred people who responded to the survey! Your input helps us in improving the program.

Book Review: Emotional Longevity by Norman and P. Elizabeth Anderson

Norman Anderson, PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association, and his wife, P. Elizabeth Anderson, a health and fitness journalist, wrote a fascinating book,Emotional Longevity: What Really Determines How Long You Live. They reviewed the scientific research about different factors affecting health and longevity and synthesized the information into a coherent picture of how different facets of one’s life contributes to health and longevity. Their thesis is that one’s health-span and life-span are determined by more than just biological factors–such as one’s genes, healthy eating, exercise, and the physical purity of one’s environment. Interrelated dimensions including emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual, play an enormously important role, too.

The chapters about “Thoughts and Actions” were of special interest to me, of course, because they focused on how emotional disclosure improves health. Regarding writing, they recommend that you:

  • select topics that you feel need to be resolved, that are important to you, and may be difficult to express to others
  • write when you feel the need to–not necessarily everyday–and continuously for fifteen minutes or more
  • explore your deepest thoughts and feelings, describing what happened, how you feel about it, and why you might feel that way
  • not be surprised or repelled if initially some difficult feelings arise from writing, but to persist with writing because in the long-term, your emotional well-being should improve

I’d recommend this book to those who are looking for a full examination of ways to enhance their lives. The Andersons offer hundreds of well-researched and practical suggestions about how to increase your emotional well-being to live longer, healthier, and more satisfying lives.

You can purchase this book at

Helpdesk: A new tool for tech support and customer service

In the last few weeks, we’ve instituted the Helpdesk, a new mechanism for communicating with our tech support and customer service. If you click on the link,Proceed to the Helpdesk, which is found on our Tech Support page ( or Contact Us page ( you’ll be directed to the Helpdesk Request Form.

Enter your name, e-mail address, country, category of help needed, subject, and body of text. You can add attachments also. Then select a password. You will receive an email from us with a ticket number and a link to our response. (You will only have to use the password if you misplace that email.)

We’ve improved tech support by using the Helpdesk that it is a ticket-based system. Now, all our e-mail correspondence with you on an issue is saved in one document. We turned to Helpdesk as the volume of e-mail has grown; it is an organized and efficient system to make sure we respond to each request in a timely manner. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about the Helpdesk.

Carol Sammons, tech support specialist, will be answering your questions. She is well acquainted with LifeJournal and also has extensive knowledge of Windows operating systems and our LifeJournal website.

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Poetry is what gets lost in the translation.
Robert Frost
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