Start a new journal today!
When I embarked on my journey at the start of 2014, I realised I had a lot of anger and bitterness deep inside me because of the burden of pain. To begin my new journey I needed to find a way of dealing with those unresolved feelings. I needed to acknowledge honestly how I felt, so I decided to keep a pain journal. Although later in my journey, as part of my wellness plan, I wanted to refer to my pain as ‘sensations’, I allowed myself to call it ‘pain’ in my journal.
I had written diaries since I was a teenager but, in truth, I wasn’t always totally honest about my feelings. I needed to pour my raw emotion onto the page: fear, sadness, irritation, anguish, anger, sorrow, shame, grief, aching pain and, in the later journal entries, feelings of trust, joy, confidence and pride in myself. I cannot explain the phenomenon of my pain journal except to say this: it works. And I know it will work for you too.
There is so much science and research to prove that writing down your feelings produces positive therapeutic effects on your overall health. I have always written diaries and I found that writing about my pain was central to my healing journey.
You don’t have to write about pain, simply start today by recalling 3 things you are grateful for, it might sound simple but the daily practice of being thankful for the little things in life makes you happier! So why not start with that, saying thank you every day.
Make it a daily habit, select a certain time to habitually do it so it is routine.
Before I wrote my first entry, I blessed my journal and said aloud that from my writing only good would come. I can be my own harshest critic and I really didn’t want this to be a reminder of how badly things were going for me, so I had a few ground rules and you should follow these too:
- Start by adopting a loving, compassionate approach to yourself and accept that everything you write is perfect, no matter what it is.
- Don’t ever judge yourself or feel guilty about any emotion you write; your feelings are your true feelings and you must accept them with love.
- Accept as part of your wellness journey that you will have a more balanced life with your body and sensations, so the emotions you write about reflect how you feel now or how you have felt in the past, but don’t have to be part of your future.
- On a practical level, write every day, if only for a few minutes. Once you start skipping days, it will be harder and harder to get back to it.
- Write down your reaction to any changes in your daily routine or even any medication changes (always seek medical advice for any change to medications).
- Remember that the way you write is not important. You are writing only for yourself. Don’t worry about completing sentences, spelling or word choice. Just get it down on paper or the computer screen!
- Be honest. Write what is true for you. Never judge or censor yourself. This is your journey, so how you are feeling is true for you. If you are struggling with where to start your pain journal, maybe tackle your emotions head on, write about your feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, isolation, guilt etc. and soon you will get into a flow.
- Choose a medium that feels right for you. That could be a special folder on your computer, audio recordings on your phone, a blog or an old-fashioned journal. Do it your way because that’s what will work!
- Sometimes it helps to create a comfortable space or a specific time to write your journal. If you can set aside time to do it every day it will probably work better. I always write mine with a lovely cup of tea or a nice biscuit, so choose a favourite corner of your house, in bed, or a place in the sun outside in your garden, whenever feels right for you.
Good luck! I promise you, if you do a little journaling every day, in time you will harvest the benefits in your wellness.