Journal writing is the therapy of writing from the heart. It is the process of chronicling your thoughts without censorship. From our poetry to our music, writing what we see, think and feel has always had therapeutic value. The recording of information holds enormous power – our religious texts are a testament to that. Our entire history as a species comes from thousands of years of artists, writers and cave dwellers taking the time to record, in some way, their perception of their life at the time; not that your journal need compete with any great historical or religious text, but it is just as valuable.
Journal writing is the therapy of recording your life and events, of telling your own personal story – but not in an autobiographical way. The method is more one of observation and reflection, followed by the outcome of that process, all of which is recorded by you in your journal. Your journal will be an honest, unselfconscious version of your life’s events, thoughts, and reactions, for your eyes only; keep it private.
We are multidimensional beings and the more tools we use to balance those dimensions the more chance we have of attempting to understand our behaviour and reactions. This in turn can bring about healing in all areas of our life. Recording your thoughts and feelings daily is one of those tools. This is the therapy of journal writing. It is a creative process that has the potential to bring magical transformation to your life.
There are suggested guidelines to journal writing in order to enable it to remain as focused a discipline as possible. But these are only suggestions; above all follow your own instincts. Bring your own magic to the process.
• Journal writing must be honest – this will take practice and courage.
• Journal writing must be consistent – this will take discipline.
• Journal writing is to be reread in order to observe any patterns that may be emerging.
• Journal writing is not to be used as an excuse to beat yourself up.
• Journal writing should include recording even the most insignificant events; they may be part of a bigger outcome.
Make the commitment to not make this a ‘poor me’ saga. This is not a teenage drama-queen diary.
Your journal, like yourself, is a work in progress – the person beginning the journal will not be the person ending the journal. Cathartic changes will have taken place during the process of writing and recording your daily life. But you must be open to these changes.
Being honest will enable you to see destructive patterns that may be recurring in your life. Set about changing these. Just as you make the commitment to record your thoughts daily, make the commitment to act on any personal changes that may be necessary to create the life you desire. A magic will begin to weave through your daily life.
By putting your thoughts on paper you are beginning a healing process.
By moving from simply thinking, to recording, those thoughts you have primed the pump of action that will to enable outcomes to begin to manifest.
Your journal will become your friend and confidante. Leave gaps for reflections and response. You will begin to gain insights as you get involved in your daily writings. Record these also. You could segment your journal into insights, emotions and reflections. Play with the format and remember, this is your work in progress.
Write questions that you seek answers to. Then leave a space. As you record your truth fearlessly, you allow for the answers to come.
Write letters in your journals. Say things to your letter recipient you have never had the courage to say.
Always include a gratitude column in your journal. This should include at least five things you are grateful for every day. They can be simple things like being thankful for the car you drive or the pleasant person you met on the bus, to the sandwich you enjoyed for lunch.
By being grateful on a daily basis our perspective to what we thought was a drama can change. It injects a positive uplifting discipline into our day. The more you record your gratitude, the more you will have to be grateful for. As a smile is contagious, so is gratitude.
Another column for daily affirmations adds to the power of your journal writing. A repeated affirmation or mantra can have a powerful impact on our day. The power of thought is mighty; so use it skillfully. We cannot affirm for any other person, only ourselves. One of the most well known affirmations is, ‘Everyday in everyway I am getting better and better’.
By now your journal is beginning to look like a work of art, your blank canvas is being coloured with your own personal journey. Be radical in your art form; remember it is a work in progress. No one is going to judge your choice of format or design; this is for your indulgence only. Have fun, play with it.
A quote from Stephanie Dowrick’s book, Choosing Happiness, says, ‘Journal writing or free writing is the most effective way that I know to go beyond the most obvious and familiar thoughts that clutter your mind. Your journal can be a pile of papers placed in a folder; it can be a beautiful book, tailor-made for discovery. Let this be a place where you brainstorm freely. Writing things down without censorship lets you ‘see’ your own thoughts and get some vital distance from them in ways that ruminating never can. It also clears the space for new thoughts to emerge. It anchors new insights, making them real’.
Journal writing has the potential to heal aspects of your life, or to just make your journey more conscious. It will enable you to gain clarity and perspective as an honest, helpful, empowering guide to your life.
Journal writing is your time, so make it gratifying and fun. Give yourself the time and space to get lost in the process. Let those around you know this is a time you do not wish to be disturbed. Your example may encourage others to begin their own journal writing journey.
So pick up your pen, pencils, or whatever you choose, select the blank canvas and begin your work of art. Record your story; just as many before us have been doing for centuries.
Embrace the magic of this simple creative process and unlock the unlimited potential of you.
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