Journal writing

An introduction to journaling as therapy

Journaling is the practice of putting your thoughts, feelings, dreams, goals and ideas in a book to empty the positive and negative energies you hold in your heart. It unburdens you, relieves your stress and worry, lets you clarify your thoughts and assists you in manifesting your desires.

I often encourage my clients to start journaling. And I often get a pained look in return, as if it is hard work. People can find it hard to open up and communicate their deep feelings to a piece of paper. The problem is, not only do people not start journaling, they also keep their thoughts and feelings inside where they can eat a them up and fester into illnesses. As I tell my clients, there will be days when you will relish putting your ideas down and there will be other days you just don’t want to write. Even on the days you don’t want to write, just write, “Today I have nothing to say” or “I don’t want to do this now.” But write in your journal every day you must.

How do I start journalling?

When you start to write your thoughts down, it is irrelevant if you are a good or bad writer. No-one will see your writing; however, you must write because there are some things that cannot be said. There are some things, good and bad, pleasure and pain, that are your secret and your secret only. Not that there is anything bad in what you write, it’s just that it’s private. There are some things that you think about or feel that in your silent moments will make you smile, and that smile is just for you. There are some things that in your silent moments will break your heart and make you feel pain, and which you could never express to anyone.

No-one will see your writing; however, you must write because there are some things that cannot be said.

When we journal, we don’t want anyone’s consolation; we don’t want that pat on the hand saying, “There dear, it will be OK,” because in our heart of hearts we are grieving and it’s not okay. Sometimes there are some things that we feel will never be OK. Our regrets, the things we didn’t do. The guilt we feel over actions or when we failed to act.

Why should I start journaling?

When you start to write down the bad and the good, you will, over the weeks, months and years, see a pattern. It is then that you can take your gifts, your perceptions about healing and your ability to heal, and put all that energy into transforming the pattern to make it work for you. You may even find a therapist who can help you through it, if you really feel you can open up and share it with them. If not, the important thing is that you have expelled it from inside your energy; you haven’t imploded like a building collapsing under all the heavy negativity of life, which could cause you to collapse mentally and emotionally. You have not let this negativity build up and make you physically ill.

That is how keeping a journal works, you know. First, we have the negative thinking, then the negative feelings. The inadequacies, the worries, the grief, the pain. Slowly these cloud our dreams and encroach onto our goals. From the happy resilient youngsters we once were, we become jaded and weighed down by all the baggage. That’s why it’s called “baggage”: we carry it around on our shoulders like a huge bag and wonder why we feel sick in the mornings, why our mind is fogged, why we can’t concentrate, why our relationships aren’t working, why we are unsettled and unhappy.

Journaling allows you to put the bag down. It lets you get rid of some of the negative things and dust off those dreams you had when you were more carefree.

So give it a try. Get a nice covered book and a pen that flows. If you are artistic, maybe even put some nice pictures there. You need to find a way of journaling that you are comfortable with and you need to make the book special. Then just start to write. First the date, then the words, “Today was a ………day.” You fill in the space – was it good, was it bad, how would you describe today? Then continue with how you feel, your hopes for what the day could have been, your disappointments and lastly your gratitude. What can you be grateful for on this day, this one day? What is one thing that you can truly lift your eyes to heaven for and say, “Thank you”? It may be that you passed that exam or that it was a sunny day. Or that you ate that great ice-cream and chocolate sauce, or that you saw your friend, or watched your favourite TV program, or spent some time with your cat, your plants, your children, your lover. Or it may just be that you are grateful you are alive and healthy.

What part of your glass is half full? Remember, the glass is never empty. Not while you have life, not while you are free. If you are reading this, stop … look around. There is sooo much to be grateful for and in many ways we are truly blessed.

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website at Stressfree Management.

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