What is Journaling? A personal private space where one is free of judgment to explore ideas, concepts and thoughts. A space to write letters A space to sketch and write A space to become more comfortable with your voice through writing.
Benefits of Journaling Stronger relationships Better organizational skills Better focused Know yourself better Captures “life’s story” Reduces stress Encourages positive thinking Holds you accountable Unleashes Creativity What else can you think of?
Studies about Journaling… In 1985, James W. Pennebaker, M.D, studied the link between emotional release writing and improved physiological and psychological functioning. He found that the act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. Joshua M. Smyth at SUNY Stonybrook, monitored 112 patients with arthritis or asthma. The subjects were asked to write in a journal for 20 minutes three days in a row about either an emotionally stressful incident or their plans for the day. Of the group who expressed their anxiety on paper, 50% showed a large improvement in their disease after four months. Kathleen Adams, Founder of the Center Journal Therapy worked with patients who were diagnosed with severe PTSD. She found out that 88% of the patient said they wrote a journal regularly, 60% intermittently or 28 % intermittently. Her second experience was that patients often experienced terrible outcome when they wrote in the their journals. They ended up in a sense of despair, or pain and found it difficult to pull themselves out of it. She found out that most of them were using the free-writing exercise which has no limits –it can take minutes, hours, paragraphs or pages. There was no way to get out. So she began looking at the other end of the spectrum structured exercises which she later coined the journal ladder. And Later founded the course, “Journal to the Self.”
Morning Pages and Creativity… “Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream consciousness writing done first thing in the morning. There is no right or wrong way… They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind – and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over think Morning Pages; just put three pages of anything on paper and do three more tomorrow….” - The Artists’ Way- - The Artists’ Way-
There is a large creative force in each of us that needs to be unleashed. We do not realize the vastness that exists within us and journaling is one of those tools that can get the creative juices flowing. Accessing your creative self can give you vast possibilities. Then the words ‘fear and doubt” do not exist. Inspiration springs from within you -
How is Creativity manifested in your day to day life? Are we all creative? How is Creativity manifested in your day to day life? Are we all creative?.
Creating safety & Comfort before writing In order to maximize on your writing it is important to create an environment that is safe and warm. Think of ways that can make you feel that way. Some suggestions: In order to maximize on your writing it is important to create an environment that is safe and warm. Think of ways that can make you feel that way. Some suggestions: A prayer A prayer A candle Music Having tea/coffee Different environment Affirmations Go for a walk or do something with nature…write for 15 minutes after that. Go for a walk or do something with nature…write for 15 minutes after that. Reward after every entry What works for you?
After doing a writing prompt, a writing exercise come back to it and ask yourself “How was it?” Trust your “inner voice” and that you have a voice that can be heard – give your voice a space and a compassionate one. Find a time and place to write where you will not be disturbed. Promise yourself that you will write for a minimum of 15 minutes a day at least three/four consecutive days. Don’t push yourself beyond where you can realistically go. Don’t expect perfection from yourself Don’t share your journal with anyone you don’t want to. Don’t censor what you write. Write just for yourself Don’t censor what you write. Write just for yourself. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar
Journal Writing Exercises Journal Writing Exercises … Tools for Life.
One Word Stems Complete these with the first word that comes to mind - Right now I should_____________ - I feel ___________ - I wish I knew _____________ - When I check inside I find ____________ - My inner critic says I’m_________ - What I need most ________ - If my present mood were a color, it would be _______ - I’m afraid to ______ - My authentic self is _________ Now you can pick any of these that stand out and write about it for a structured amount of time. Make a list of Sentence Stems that you can come up with for yourself.
Five-minute sprints (timed Writing) 5-10 minutes of timed writing It is useful when you don’t have much time, don’t know what to write about, need clarity and focus, want to track an issue over time. Pick a subject, note the time, write as fast as you can without interruption, and STOP when the time is up. Take a deep breath before beginning and ask your self the question…. WHAT’S GOING ON RIGHT NOW……
Other ways to use the Journal… Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a child. In your journal ask questions of your inner child. What makes you happiest in the world? Doodle, Use Crayons/Markers. Make a fun List. We make lists all the time, but make the lists fun. The Bucket List, Inventions you could not live without, Books you want to read. Quotes/Poems are a great inspiration – take a line from a quote, a poem and begin writing either in poetry form or for five minutes timed
Character Sketch This is more descriptive writing. It could be a description of another person, or some aspect of yourself. It could be used when you when you want to use your journal in a more creative way. It could be used as overcoming a stumbling block Some Examples: Write a Character sketch of your best friend. Imagine that you are a private detective, write a sketch of the person who lives in your house Imagine that you are a teacher -write a character sketch of yourself as one of your students.
Alpha Poems Pick a subject. A feeling, a mood, an issue, a person, a task, a check-in, an event. Now write the alphabet or the letters of the word or phrase vertically down the side. Write a sentence about your subject in which each line begins with the next letter of the alphabet. Work quickly rather than thinking too much.
If you feel stuck in your creativity – journaling helps release the blocks. Creativity is removal of our ego – it is a spiritual practice – we are creative because it flows from the depths of our hearts – not because of seeking fame or a “pat on the back.” When we cease to look outward and begin to go inward we begin the journey towards creativity.
References Julia Cameron, The Artist Way Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones Kathleen Adams, Journal to the Self Kathleen Adams, Scribing the Soul: Essays on Journal Writing Mari L. McCarthy, The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Health of It™. To learn more about Mari, check out her journaling blog writing-blog/. writing-blog/ writing-blog/