When I was 15, I received a 5 year diary. You know the kind, with the little key to lock it up, safe and secure. I remember thinking that 5 years into the future was such a LONG way off!!!
When Steve and I began our spiritual journey in 2002, I began recording my thoughts, capturing what came to me during meditations and writing other notes. When we moved in 2007, I found several of those notebooks and was amazed at the wisdom and beauty in those words that I barely recognized as mine.
One piece of prose was a written description of flying, as a hawk or eagle across the night sky. If I hadn’t recognized the handwriting, I wouldn’t have known that the words were mine.
I believe that the words are reflections from my Soul Self, written after meditation, when I was deep in Theta brainwave state and really in tune with the Divine.
Recording messages from my Soul Self is just one benefit of keeping a journal. Another benefit is the emotional release that I receive from writing about what’s happening my day-to-day world.
One of my mentors, Deborah King says that when we sit and fume or stew over people or situations in our lives, it’s like we have one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas. We’re not going anywhere! Yet, when I write, I am able to connect with what’s transpiring or what I am processing from the past and we am able to take my foot off of the brake and move ahead.
Did you know that there is also scientific evidence that journaling is beneficial? Read on:
“University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health.
I know what you’re thinking: “So writing a few sentences a day may keep me healthier longer, but so will eating lima beans! Why should I bother journaling when I’ve already got too much on my plate?” The following facts may convince you.
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. Begin journaling and begin experiencing these benefits:
-Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.
-Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being.
-Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
-Solve problems more effectively. 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 unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
-Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict.
Keeping a journal also allows you to track your growth and see things that bugged you in the past that are just a minor annoyance now. I love to be able to see what things upset me 5 years ago and know that I have transformed myself in that area of my life. Also, when I can see that progress, I have proof that I can grow and heal.
According to Rachelle Williams of the Chopra Center, it’s important to take a moment to breathe before starting to write:
“Create some space between your last activity and journaling by taking a moment to breathe, literally. A great breathing technique that has immediate benefits is Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing. If you have a regular meditation practice, try meditating first and then use that stillness to take your writing to a deeper level. Using breath alone or in combination with meditation can help to shift your body into a state of restful awareness, which is ideal during times of reflection.”
Visit the link above to find more tips on journaling, including a great exercise to capture your end of the year reflections.
Don’t think you have to have something fancy for your journal. Even a spiral notebook or legal pad will do. As Rachel says in the article,
“The physical act of putting pen to paper and writing your thoughts creates a mind-body connection that helps your brain fully integrate the process.”
I have found that capturing your journal entries on your pc or Mac is just as therapeutic. In fact, the first time I did my journaling on my pc, I was surprised at how easily it flowed. Many of my hypnosis scripts and class manuals also flow from this same Divine well of inspiration. So, typing works just as well as writing for me.
How will you remember and chronicle 2015 and some of the milestones of your year?