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  • Writer's picture Deirdre Brady BA (Hons), Adv Dip Hyp MEAPH MAPCP

Journaling your way through stress and into creativity

As a teenager, I started writing a personal diary and most days I took time out to write details of what was happening in my life and how I was feeling. From there my creativity opened up and I progressed to writing poetry. Looking back now I can see how beneficial this was to me as an adolescent as it highlighted the important things in my life and that it was also my way of channeling inner stress, anxiety, and sadness which really worked for me and left me feeling happier, calmer and in control. I would become so engrossed in what I was doing, it was a channel to allow those emotions onto the page and out of my body. It gave me a voice and some of my best poems were written when I felt I was alone and the whole world was against me. Of course, it wasn’t but at times back when I was a teenager it sure felt like it was, and being able to write these feelings down and express them to my journal gave me great comfort.

Journaling is the buzzword at the moment and I am a huge advocate for this process no matter what age you are. There are different forms journaling can take, from the personal diary to other ones like a gratitude journal, a dream journal, a therapy journal in the form of reflective writing, and also food journals and art journals. No matter what form the journal takes, the benefits associated with doing it are worth it.

Journaling is writing and it is used as a tool to promote mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. There are no rules in your writing and it really can be whatever you want to write about. Mindfully you can begin with rambling about anything and continue on to explore your innermost thoughts, feelings, sensations, your health, life, dreams, anxieties and it can also include your gratitude for life and all the wonder to the magical. The amazing thing about beginning to write is that once you get into the zone and into your unconscious mind you would be surprised by what comes up and how you reconnect with your inner wisdom and guidance. You are tapping into the creative side of your brain as the right side of your brain is responsible for intuition and creative thinking. Writing is just one way to tap into creativity. Allowing the words to flow freely can be very calming and spiritual practice in itself. It is also a good practice in recognising and learning to silence the inner critic.

I encourage all my clients to start a therapy journal explaining all the benefits associated with it and how it will help to integrate thoughts, emotions, new awareness’s that come up during therapy sessions. Therapy journals are a great way to shed light on dysfunctional repeating patterns of behaviour and by recognising these patterns you can take steps to change them with therapy and cognitive restructuring. This type of journaling is more structured and as it's more reflective writing it really is a therapy in itself. Once it becomes a habit clients tend to keep up the process as they see the benefits for themselves. Here is a video on Gibbs Reflective Cycle which I find is a simple approach to reflective writing Gibbs Reflective cycle Video.

I also encourage clients to keep a dream journal also as this is a valuable insight into your unconscious mind and how you really are under the surface. Interpreting dreams is a fun way to get to know the deeper unconscious part of you and what’s at work there. It’s also a skill you develop as you get more practice doing it.

So to sum up, here are just eight ways in which journaling can benefit you ..

  1. Journaling can help you through difficult times and emotions, like times of grief or change.

  2. Helps to build resilience and positivity.

  3. It calms the nervous system as you connect with physical sensations, thoughts, and innermost emotions this works on combating anxiety.

  4. It taps into the right side of the brain opening up creativity so can open you up to new talents, a new way of thinking, feeling, and expressing yourself.

  5. It focuses the mind on what we want and making things happen.

  6. For self-development purposes as it increases our self-awareness and our self-compassion and it helps to silence the inner critic.

  7. As a mindful practice, it can also develop your spiritual practice where you are bringing awareness inside you, your mind, body, and spirit.

  8. Using handwriting in writing a journal, is also known to boost creativity, improve memory and relieve stress.

Don’t underestimate the power of journaling and it’s important, to be honest with yourself and in your writings. Journals really can be whatever you want them to be. Start by making it fun and letting your creativity flow as it brings you in tune with your unconscious mind and into your own inner wisdom and guidance. Happy writing.

For more information on personal therapy or hypnotherapy why not call me for a free consultation on 0858779480.

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