A healthy body and mind go hand-in-hand. This is why I dislike ‘fad diets’, they separate out ‘weight’ and associate it just with what you eat, which is why they don’t work.
Bad habits are built up over time. For example, years of using food, drink, drugs, over-working or other activities to self-soothe or numb uncomfortable emotions will take its toll on your physical and mental health. When we address our health we need to look at what’s going on in our minds as well.
One tool I use in my practice which helps get to the root of negative emotions is journaling. I find it very therapeutic and powerful.
We cannot address our thought patterns until we know what they are. Getting those thoughts down on paper not only gets them out of our heads, they give us a space to look at and revisit them.
Talking about our problems is great, but journaling alone, in a private journal can mean we go deeper, we might reveal things we would not say out loud to anyone. Over time we can recognize patterns of behaviour and negative thought patterns and even the roots of them. It brings a self-awareness to our thoughts.
In this article I will look at The Power of Journaling for Good Health and suggest some tips on how to get started.
Healing through writing
Writing is recognized as a powerful healing tool. It has so many benefits and can help us emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
Long term negative emotions such as stress and anxiety can lead to the creation of emotional blockages. Over time, these emotional blockages are often felt physically in various parts of the body.
A GP may treat the physical symptom but many of them are associated with what’s going on in our minds. So it makes sense that clearing some of those emotional blockages can help heal physical pain.
Writing in a journal every day can reveal patterns of behaviour, the cause and effect, and any communication problems. We will start to understand ourselves and take responsibility for any changes that are needed.
Sometimes, you may get clarity on something: ‘oh, that’s why that keeps happening…’ and some shifts will be more subtle. I have even found, when stuck with something, that if I write for a while, I start to find a solution on the page.
There are many ways to journal. Here are some tips I use with my clients on journaling to heal:
Don’t sit and stare at a blank sheet of paper – just start to write. Begin by writing down whatever is in your mind. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar. Do not think about it. Just write, even if it sounds stupid.
Try writing about the present moment. Describe your life and ask yourself if you’re living the life you expected?
Don’t censor your words or edit your emotions.
You may want to keep a separate section to write about things you are grateful for. Keep a daily list of things you appreciate and when you find yourself feeling down, refer to this section for a happiness boost.
Don’t make the mistake of just writing down the negative. Maintain a list of your personal successes. Be sure to include daily successes, nothing is too small! For instance, ‘I wrote for 5 minutes in my journal!’ Or ‘I made the bed!’
The process of healing may take time, remember to be kind and patient with yourself. Journaling provides an outlet for emotions, some of which you may not even understand to begin with. By getting emotions out and onto the page, you can increase your self-awareness and make deeper connections.
Journaling improves communication
Through understanding our thoughts, feelings, and experiences we learn to understand and express ourselves in a better way. This means our communication with others can also improve.
You may see patterns emerging when you read past entries, this can help you identify your different communication styles. You can identify your problem-solving methods, which in turn will aid in problem-solving in other relationships.
As you hone in on gratitude and positivity, this will translate into your communication and interactions with others as well.
Your written communication will no doubt improve, as you learn to express yourself through writing, your external communication will better reflect your inner-self.
Some final tips
Here are some final tips to keep in mind when starting your journaling journey:
- Make time to journal every day, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
- Keep it simple. You’re not writing a novel, you don’t have to write long pages of content. In fact, you don’t even have to write in full sentences! It’s your journal, write what you want.
- Be open and honest. This is something you do for you. You don’t have to share your journal with anyone else, so be free to say whatever you’re feeling, unedited.
- When you really don’t want to journal – journal! This is most probably the time you need to.
- If you can, write by hand. When you write by hand it activates different parts of the brain which makes the brain open to learning.
- Keep your journal and a pen by your bed. If you cannot sleep then spend a few minutes journaling to get out what’s in your head.
- Do not let anyone else read your journal. It’s yours and they may not understand some of the thoughts you put down.
- Treat yourself to a beautiful journal and pen.
I hope you have found this article about The Power of Journaling useful. If you would like to find out more about how I can help you with your health and fitness then get in touch.