In this previous post, I wrote that a peaceful, content home environment is directly linked to a peaceful, content mom. One supports and facilitates the other. We know that this happens best when we moms make our own self-care a priority. In that post, I shared 9 self-care practices that help me to keep fuel in my emotional energy tank!
Today, I write about my 10th practice:
I remember the first time I was asked to journal. I was away at a weekend workshop. It was early into the first day. The facilitators gave everyone a pen and a piece of paper and 20 minutes to sit silently and write about our expectations for the weekend.
“20-minutes! What the heck could I possibly write that would take 20 minutes,” I remember thinking. I settled into my chair, took a few deep breaths, and then what happened was kind of weird. I had heard somewhere to just place the tip of your pen on the paper and trust that something will happen. So that’s what I did. . . .
And something DID happen! Words began to form on the page. A lot of words. And they were coming from me! This was over 10 years ago and I still recall my astonishment when the facilitator told us that 20 minutes was up. Already??
The Magic Happens
Something magical happens when we put pen to paper. The same “magic” that happens when we pray, meditate, or otherwise engage in mindfulness. It’s actually not magic, but science:
“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, intuit 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.” From http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/000721
There are so many benefits of journaling. And I’m sure we each experience these benefits differently, as journaling is a personal, individual practice. Here are five benefits that I’ve experienced:
First and most important (to me) is that journaling Gives voice to the Holy Spirit within me. When I begin my writing time with prayer, I call on the Holy Spirit to write His words through me. I want to know what is important – according to God – for me to bring into my full awareness through my writing time. Here’s my typical prayer: “Come Holy Spirit. Enlighten me and guide me. Reveal to me what You want me to know or think about during this quiet time. AMEN.”
Allows me to become an observer of myself. Journaling is a way of holding my thoughts still so I can examine them and rewrite them if I want. I’ve discovered that some of my thought patterns were not very helpful – especially my thought patterns about myself (I wrote more about that here). As I’ve journaled, I’ve become very familiar with my underlying beliefs, assumptions, and automatic patterns of thinking. What was once unconscious, yet influential to my decision-making, is now within my conscious awareness.
Helps clarify my thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside? Writing helps to quickly get in touch with my internal world. It’s a way of dipping beneath the thoughts of the moment & tuning into the thoughts that help me get to know myself and my needs and desires more deeply.
Reduces stress. Writing about anger, sadness, and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. My journal gives me a place to release my daily frustrations so I don’t have to carry them around with me. I feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
Helps me think about challenges differently and solve problems creatively. Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing gives expression to yet unformed inner intuitions and wisdom and often leads us to a deeper level of discovery. And we just might stumble upon an unexpected solution to that seemingly unsolvable problem.
In addition to these benefits, keeping a journal allows me to track patterns, trends and growth over time. I always find it fascinating to look at what I was journaling about a year ago. Where was I on my personal growth journey last year at this time? What was calling for my attention and intentions?
You don’t have to have a fancy journal to get started. Grab a piece of looseleaf or any paper you have lying around. I “upcycle” my kids’ old copy books and notebooks, turning them into my journals. At the end of any given school year, they’re at best, half full. I’ve been making good use of the other half!
And forget spelling and punctuation. You don’t even have to write in complete sentences! I’ve learned that I am a “stream of consciousness” thinker and writer. It’s important to just go with what’s coming up and not try to perfect it. That would pretty much defeat the purpose and might stifle the voice coming up from within.
The MAGIC happens when we quiet our minds, still our inner chatter and give ourselves access to our own internal worlds. What discoveries and new possibilities await you?? I hope you’ll give yourself a chance to find out.
Copyright 2017 De Yarrison