Putting pen to paper with freedom of expression for self-supportive healing.
The intention with journaling is to give yourself mental, emotional and spiritual healing support. Hold that intention when you use this tool.
When to Journal
- Often times, the mind can be too full and busy with thoughts. The same bothersome thoughts are recycling. They loop over and over again and feel stuck.
- Your thoughts can seem disjointed. It can feel like they are pinging about, first on one issue of concern and then another, creating chaos and lack of cohesiveness in your thoughts.
- Your thoughts keep you awake at night.
- You can’t seem to sort through something that’s bothering you. You may not even be sure what it is that’s bothering you.
- You have a decision to make but your thoughts feel jumbled.
- The emotions connected to those thoughts can churn inside you – anxiety, anger, worry, discouragement, fear, sadness, hurt, disappointment, etc.
- Your emotions create emotional or mental pain and feel heavy in your body.
- Your emotions are obvious, and accessible and you feel like you need to vent them. You may even feel angry at another person but you’re aware that directing them at another person is harmful.
- You feel that your emotional reaction to a situation is weighing on you.
- It feels like a roller coaster of positive and negative emotions keeps presenting itself in your life, and you don’t feel stable. You would rather feel like you can consistently riding a calm wave of your experiences instead.
- Sometimes, your emotions remain hidden, walled off from finding any expression. This is when you feel turned inward, flat, alone and depressed.
- It’s also helpful to journal, if some vague memories are surfacing and you find that they’re also stirring emotions you don’t understand.
♦ Thoughts and emotions are energy and part of the human experience. They serve a healthy purpose when they are flowing and when they inform us about what is transpiring in our consciousness.
♦ When you journal freely, you provide an opportunity for those lower vibrational energies like fear, anger, sadness and hurt to move out of the body. This creates movement so that the natural flow of energy can be returned to the body-mind. Heavy and painful emotions that remain stuck lead to dis-ease in the physical body.
♦ Journaling is a means of developing a relationship with yourself/your inner child- the younger wounded self. As you journal, you develop a stronger awareness of the contents of your subconscious mind – the thoughts and emotions of which you are not fully aware. Journaling brings them to the surface so that you can see the truth of them and choose whether you wish to keep that energy or transform it into more supportive and loving thoughts.
- Dedicate a blank notebook to your journaling. Anything you write in that journal is 100% for you only. It is completely private. This is important so that you feel safe in being able to fully express whatever you want to express.
- Be consistent.
- Set time aside for your journaling. 20 minutes per day is ideal.
- Give yourself a quiet, uninterrupted space in which to journal so that you can listen to your own thoughts and be present to your experience.
- Put the pen onto the paper and just start writing. If you don’t know where to begin start writing. “I don’t know where to begin”. Keep writing and just record your stream of consciousness.
- Your journal does not have to be neat, and grammar and spelling is not important.
- You are NOT looking for a solution to what you are thinking and feeling. Just be present to what is arising in your thoughts and your emotions.
- Be honest with yourself.
- Try not to judge what is coming through you but if you do, this too can be informative.
- Do not edit yourself. Your thoughts do not have to be logical. Allow them as they are. You are not trying to create a cohesive story, but if you are not typically expressive do try to complete your thoughts.
- Allow any catharsis of your emotions – this is vital to your healing. Let yourself feel any emotion that arises. If your catharsis is intense make space for it, and allow it as you breathe. However, try to keep writing so you don’t get stuck in the intense emotions.
- If your tendency is keep your emotions bottled up, you may have to place a little more focus on writing about what you are feeling. Often times, your emotional vocabulary can be limited so asking yourself if you are mad, sad, glad, hurt or scared is a good place to begin.
- There is nothing you need to do with what you have written. You do not need to analyze it afterward or look for some solution within your words. They are simply an expression of your energy.
- If you choose to look back on your journaling to learn about yourself, it’s often helpful to wait for some time before you review what you wrote. Wait 2-3 weeks as an example and then look back.
- You may feel lighter because you have given expression to what’s been recycling within you.
- You can more clearly see your truth, and this enables your ability to be self-responsible in your healing journey.
- Journaling is very helpful for sorting through your own feelings before you communicate them to another person so that you remain true to yourself.
- If you are consistent about your journaling and later review what you’ve been journaling, you may notice a pattern of thoughts emerging. For example, you may see that you are journaling about the same worries, or perhaps that your self-talk is always highly self-critical. Or you may notice that your thinking moves into one extreme or another. These patterns inform you about yourself and what is getting in the way of your inner peace.
- As you journal, you have an opportunity to access your inner wisdom that may naturally present itself, and give you some insight to your concerns or provide you with a sense of direction.
Some Helpful Methods
♦ To bypass the conscious mind, which often wants to remain in control or thinks it already completely understands what is happening, write with the hand you do not normally use to write. It may require more patience this way as it will be slower, and maybe even difficult to read afterward, but it can be helpful to break through some barriers in your consciousness.
♦ To have a dialogue between your unconditionally loving self and your inner child, use your dominant hand to play the role of the nurturing parent and your non-dominant hand to play the role of your inner child. Start with your dominant hand and open the conversation, welcoming your inner child to speak with you. A simple way to start is to say “hi” and ask how she or he is feeling. Put the pen in your non-dominant hand and just write the first response that comes to you. Don’t think too much – there is no right or wrong answer. Dialogue/write back and forth, switching the pen between hands throughout the conversation. Be curious and don’t assume you already know what your inner child is going to say. Always close the conversation with your dominant hand, and a reassurance to your inner child that you will connect again soon.
♦ If your journaling doesn’t seem to flow, and you often put down your thoughts in just a few isolated words, create a question of inquiry around your concern/issue and then journal in response to it. For example, if you are holding onto a worry that you can never seem to ‘get ahead’, you may pose a question to yourself such as, “What is bothering me the most about not “getting ahead?” This method may make it easier for your thoughts to flow.
♦ If your mind is full of questions, and more questions seem to present themselves as you journal than do statements or insights, do not judge this. Trust that this is part of your process. However, this can sometimes be an indication that you are oriented to needing a solution rather than just giving yourself permission to experience yourself. Therefore, deepen your self-inquiry and journal a response to your own questions.