Journaling is a useful problem-solving tool and stress-reducer proven to improve mental and physical health. Did you know that journaling can boost your self-esteem?
Dr. John Grohol, CEO of Psych Central, estimates that one in three people experience symptoms of mental illness. Seek professional help with full-blown anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and substance abuse.
Journal writing facilitates the healing process!
I started keeping a diary at age 11. As I grew up, I wrote of teen angst, anger, and confusion, but eventually, I turned my journaling into a more sophisticated practice. In my teens, I read all of Anais Nin’s Diaries! I read every diary or journal I could get my hands on and marveled at the presence, power, and liveliness of it all!
I read Ira Progoff’s At a Journal Workshop and implemented his methods—an elaborate prescription of energy generation for change. Using his techniques, I was able to sort through turbulent emotions during the alcoholism and death of my treasured soulmate husband and discover hidden lessons from that experience.
To this day, I continue to use some of his techniques as well as others I’ve learned. Recently I’ve discovered a new creative world in expressive arts and art journaling. Using mixed media has helped me crack through ever more profoundly and expand ever more creatively.
There is a lot of power in the written word, but occasionally words are hard to find. In my favorite community studio, Expressive Arts (at 32nd and Thorn in San Diego, CA USA), we scribble, draw, or collage to create a representation of how we feel. We move beyond the analytical mind to illuminate and heal.
The act of writing has helped me to process failed relationships, to grieve and recover, and writing put me back together after the shocking loss of my parents.
Reading back through my journals has helped me reflect on where I used to be and where I am now in my life. It’s a method of allowing the light of understanding and compassion to shine on my past.
In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests writing three handwritten pages or 750 words every morning. At first, there is a lot of “brain-dumping,” but eventually, little jewels emerge; flashes of awakening, wisdom-conversations, and I receive clarity! I found myself creatively energized when I guided a group through the course for 12 weeks using her book as a guide.
If you want a powerful (and free) way to improve your perspective on life and clarify issues, start writing in a journal!
Begin to understand where you’re going by seeing where you are. NOTE: Assure that your journal remains private. You are writing for your eyes and your benefit only. Later, if you chose to pull out a piece or two to develop creatively, that will be up to you.
JOURNAL TO CREATE!
STEP 1. Circle 3 Strong Words from any journal entry or piece of dump-your-emotions-on-paper writing.
STEP 2. Choose one of those words and write the first sentence of a made-up story, a story that sounds LEAST like you!
STEP 3. Write for seven minutes without "thinking" or pausing. Include the other two strong words you circled from your journal. You've done it!
“You have to find what sparks a light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.” –Oprah Winfrey