Practicing as a psychologist, the topic of high stress at work or at home is an eternal theme. The times we are in have served to add more stress for men and women who are already doing so much from day to day.
When you need to work out or lay down, take a walk or call a friend, you can’t when stress crests at work or with your children. Keeping your words calm and your focus where it should be are the choices you make. The concern you might lose your job if you speak out keeps the stress at a peak. Frustration and fear are an unhealthy combination to carry around in your body for long. What can you do?
A paper and pencil are always handy. They provide an outlet for your feelings that keeps you quiet and sets you free.
Journaling about how you feel about your situation is a powerful stress reducer. Research has shown us that journaling can ameliorate depression, post trauma stress, and unresolved events in one’s childhood. Writing a detailed narrative each day over a period of weeks about the distressing event and your feelings about them has been shown to be as effective at relieving depression as therapy and medicine.
Knowing journaling is effective in healing emotions makes it one of my favorite approaches to use and teach to others.
Journaling is more than a diary listing of events or thoughts day by day. It is a hand written or on the computer narrative of thoughts, feelings, and questions asked of self and answered. Your dreams, intentions, commitments go into a journal. Sometimes a plan of action will result. Other times a solution to you problem is found or a perspective is changed from engaging in the journaling process.
Some journalers include a visual component so they cut out magazine clips, make drawings, glue mementoes on the page, or paint the pages and write on top of it. Poetry, short stories, travel adventures, practicing character development if you want to write a novel are all viable material for journaling.
Your mental focus is a magnet, your mindset frames what you see and feel.
Think for a moment, do you look through a glass half empty or half full? If all you see and say is negative and about lack, loss, life being too hard and unfair, you are seeing yourself as a victim, and victims have no power. They are trapped. If you look through a glass that is half full, then you see and feel hope, strength, a deeper meaning to this difficult time and you feel confident you can handle it. You are not a victim but are on a journey you didn’t know you’d take. You see choices and opportunity not entrapment.
When you intend for your work in journaling to be deep and meaningful, it will be. If spirituality and enlightenment are your focus, then that aspect of your life will grow. If creative expression is needing an outlet, your journal is always there when you want to express your self.
You can grow very quickly when journaling on a regular basis. I know this to be so from my experience and that of others. If you would like to join me in journaling for a 3 hour experiential workshop, I am co-leading Soul-Led Workshops with writer Julie Jordan Scott, Giving Voice to Your Soul: How to use Journaling to Inspire Your Life. In the afternoon Julie will lead Write with Passion Now: Using the Passion Crafting Method, a method that using a variety of creative prompts and movement to write from your soul and heart. This day of writing has an optional yoga session over the lunch break with a certified Yoga instructor. We are holding the workshop on September 26, at 52 Weeks of Peace Yoga Center for Conscious Living in Ojai, Ca. If you come for the weekend, and want suggestions for lodging, contact me. I describe Ojai a little here, scroll down to the end. There is an afternoon writing class with Julie Jordan Scott, a creative and passionate writer. Read a sample of her work here.
I’d like to share two examples of creative writing done for a personal journal. Writers often combine their journal writing with practicing different forms of writing. I am grateful to Susan J. for allowing me to share her beautiful pithy prose, written spontaneously in 3 minute timed writing sessions in her tele-class writing group.
The quote prompt begins each section-
“…any real artist has a direct line to the collective heart.”
The collective heart
THE collective heart
We are all connected.
We might not acknowledge it or participate in it, but we are connected.
“Real” artist – Who is a “real” artist?
We all are.
Whether we acknowledge or participate, produce or ignore
…the power to create lies within each of us.
Actress, painter, photographer, writer, plumber, mother.
We are the gift —
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” -Ambrose Redmoom
Fear is as much a part of the human condition as our heartbeat, as the skin that covers our bones. What makes human beings unique and powerful is choice.
Courage is a choice.
We can wallow in, feed and perpetuate a given fear; we can choose to be victim.
OR we can BE with the fear, feel it, observe it and let it pass through and by,
judge that “this too shall pass” and see to the other side.
I will be offering tele-journaling groups in the future for those who can’t attend in person. Please send your email to me, or opt-in to my list and I’ll let you know when the next workshop is open.