Your journal: Healer, therapist, friend

By Joanna Tebbs Young
Published December 02, 2009 in Rutland Herald

What is it you need to know to be able to heal yourself? To face the pain? To summon the strength? To live beyond the grief? To forgive? To begin living again? Locked inside us are all the answers we need. Writing is the key to our own truth.

In our technological, left-brained, prove-it-to-me society, intuition and connection with our inner self has been lost. We are not taught how to trust ourselves. However, writing allows us to discover our inner workings. And by writing quickly, without thinking or judging ourselves, we can write down things we did not know that we knew. We get to the truth inside.

When you start writing from a prompt such as “I am feeling …” things will come out that may be unexpected. Writers say such things as, “I didn’t know I was going to write that,” or, “I don’t know where that came from.”

Kay Adams, founder of the Center for Journal Therapy, writes that her journal is the “79-cent therapist” in which you can “scream, whimper, thrash, wail, rage, exult, foam, celebrate.”

A journal can be your best friend; it is always there for you, wherever you are, whatever stage of life, and however you are feeling. After safely releasing strong emotions onto the pages of your journal you can move forward to more positive and fulfilling actions.

You will find inner strength and self-confidence that you may not have known you possessed. You will tap into wisdom or intuition on which you can trust and rely on through difficult times.

Writing helps you physically too. In a study by Dr. J.W. Pennebaker, it was found through blood tests that writing for only 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days increases your immunity for six weeks! The writers also reported fewer visits to the doctor for stress-related illnesses.

Today, write down the question, “What do I need to know to move forward with (whatever issue you are facing at this moment)…” Close your eyes and after a few deep breaths allow your pen to move as it wants. Don’t think, just write. Your subconscious will answer your question if you just get out of your own way. Do not judge or censor what you are writing. Try timing yourself. Just write for five minutes and see what truth is revealed.

Trust yourself. You will find the answers you need.

Journal writing can be helpful for those in the midst of health changes. Whether quitting smoking or learning new self-care behaviors to deal with a chronic illness, journal writing can help clarify your goals. Contact Community Education at Rutland Regional Medical Center at 775-7111 for information on health programs such as Stop Smoking and Healthier Living Workshops, or visit RRMC’s Web site at http://www.rrmc.org.

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