Writing your way to wellness. Journaling through isolation and beyond.
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Writing to quieten the chatter and free your mind space during these surreal times.
What if you could say everything that is on your mind, without worrying what anyone else thought? Open up your feelings and emotions, anger, insecurities and frustrations? Pour your love, sensitivity and joy out, ever flowing, overflowing? Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps to deal with often overwhelming emotions and is a healthy way to express yourself and to help to maintain good mental health.
The benefits of journaling (I am referring to it as this but I am aware this is a very American term and some people may not know it) are many and perhaps more relevant now while so many people are in lock down and isolation, feeling trapped in their physical surroundings and possibly also mentally and emotionally.
Writing down your thoughts is a natural way to understand your feelings, keeping a journal can help you to create some order, and quieten your mind when the world around you feels like it is in chaos.
Journaling can help you to
Cope with depression
I have personal experience of this. Journaling has on many occasions been a complete saviour for me, furiously writing my emotions onto a page has freed up trapped emotion and anger in my physical body, the implications of negative feelings and emotions on our physical health can be extremely detrimental. In hypnotherapy we work to access these feelings and emotions that may be trapped in our subconscious affecting our every day lives. I have reflected on my journal entries from times when I have needed it the most, through periods of stress resulting in hair loss, through a divorce, while travelling around the world, it is super insightful.
The important thing to remember is it doesn’t matter what your writing looks like, if there are typos or spelling errors, no one else is reading your journal, this is your safe space, to say what ever you feel.
When should I write?
It really doesn’t matter, I have randomly picked up a notebook to vent about a situation in the moment to allow me to process it. If you struggle to sleep an evening journaling session could really help. Make a nice nourishing warm drink that will help you to sleep and sit in a low lit space and write down your day. Journaling before bed will allow your subconscious mind to process some of the things that may otherwise plague you at 3am.
If you are a morning person like me, perhaps you can start your day with a positivity journal entry. Write down your goals for the day, (for some people this may just be getting up out of bed) write down the things you are grateful for. Every day is a new chance to start over and every blank page of your journal provides that opportunity. Your mindset and mood in the morning will set the theme and tone for your whole day so make it positive!”
Write when you feel stressed, worried, anxious and frustrated, writing down these feelings and situations that cause them can separate you from them.
Write also when you are happy, excited and looking forward to something. Documenting the elation, the love and the joy, is feel good writing and will shift your mindset into a more positive one.
What should I write?
You may find that you sit and stare at a blank piece of paper unable to get started. You may start and sit for hours who knows where one sentence may lead?
If you are struggling to get started here are a few prompts.
What’s one thought that has been consistently on your mind lately? How is it making you feel?
What are your current fears and concerns
What’s the hardest thing you’re trying to achieve or cope with right now? What is something small and necessary about this struggle?
If you could take away all of these fears/concerns and feelings, how would you feel? Who would you be? What would your life look like?
What are you grateful for?
What is on your bucket list? Have you ever thought about it?
What do you need most right now?
A sneaky peak into my journaling…
10th February 1989 – Aged 7 years old
“I went to the pub with my dad. He has lots of friends. It was my sisters birthday and we played some games. Our Guinea Pig had babies but two died. We had got a spare bedroom in our house and Mum is moving me in for Christmas. I went to my nanna’s and my cousin came round and played. Yesterday I kept saying I didn’t want to come back to school, but I did – The end.”
12th January 2004 – Aged 22 years old
“I find myself more and more often evaluating my life, not just my life but life in general. What exactly is it all about? I mean what are you expected to expect from it? How do you know what you want from it. I am having a mid 20’s crisis and cannot decide in which direction to go”
The unexpected joy of journaling – notebooks!
I have always loved stationery and I am a sucker for a notebook. I get excited about the thought of buying a new journal, for me it is still a pen to paper kind of process, however in the 21st century notebooks aren't the only way to go.
Perhaps you write your journal on your phone, type it onto your laptop, start an unpublished or anonymous blog, it really doesn’t matter how or where you write, the important thing is to keep writing, start with a sentence and see where it takes you.