Saturday, December 21, 2019

Journal It Out

One of the ways that I contend, so to speak, with my pain and my overall health and what all it keeps me from is by journaling. I started journaling about 20 years ago.  I was seeing a counselor at the seminary where I attended and it was suggested to me to start a journal. I thought that it was the dumbest idea I had ever hear of. I'm not even sure why I thought that was a dumb idea but it turns out that without journaling I would have not survived this long.

Journaling helped me in several major ways and really I think that the most important way was to allow me to calm my mind. What I mean is that I would worry about so many things, we all do that, and then I would get frustrated because I would worry that I would forget what I was worried about and that would cause more worry because I knew that if I didn't know what all I was worrying about that I wouldn't be able to work through those worries. Whew, I think I'm worried now that I worried so much back then. Just kidding, I did worry a lot but I'm not worried that I worried. OK, enough of the worry business.  How journaling helped me not worry so much is that I found that if I would just jot down my thoughts that I could get them out of my head but I knew that the thoughts were right there on a piece of paper, or in my journal, right where I left them and that I could go back and read them as often and as long as I wanted to then I could let go of those thoughts. No longer did I have to carry all of those thoughts around in my head. I could rest and not only rest but having these thoughts written down allowed me to see that there were not too many things that I needed to do and if there were more things than I could have handled in one day, all I had to do was organized my day by the most important tasks and what could wait until another time. It gave me the freedom to be organized and rest my mind and free up energy sources that were being drained by trying to remember everything that I needed to worry about.

Justs writing down my worries were not the only way that I used journaling to help me. I also did work with my counselor that involved looking at my past and learning how to heal emotionally from those things so journaling was a big tool for me in that process. I was able to express feelings and upsets that I had inside of me that I never knew how to talk about or get out of my mind.

At first, I didn't have a clue how to get started journaling. It was suggested to me to cut out pictures and words from a magazine and make a collage using the pictures or words to help me express how I was feeling or what those pictures and words stirred up in me. I still thought this was a dumb idea but I gave it a try and to be honest, I was shocked at my very first journal entry. This first journal entry said what I had felt from everyone I knew my whole life and how I felt about what I believed was happening to me.
Here is a picture of that journal entry.

Well, I won't go into what it all meant to me, but I will say that because I felt a bit of sadness lift from me after I finished that first journal that I had to admit that I no longer thought that journaling was the dumbest thing I had ever heard of, as a matter of fact, I fell in love with it.

Fast forward to 2019, almost 2020, and I am still journaling but not as often as I once had. With my EDS and other chronic disorders, I still need to journal to get too many thoughts out of my head, to express frustration about dr visits, new symptoms that come up, friends and family that don't understand, trouble with everyday tasks, and how much I am not happy about my body and all of its ailments I'm thankful that I know how to journal. Journaling saves me that precious energy of spending time being upset and worrying. I still use the rule that I can always go back to my journal and read all the things that I have written and it still gives me comfort to know that I don't have to carry those things I've written in my journal in my head because if I need to know about them there are all in a safe place.

I encourage as many people as I can to journal because we all deal with things that are "too much" at times and we all need a way to get things out of our space and mind. The comment that I get the most is "I want to journal but I have not idea how to start."  Journaling is, for me, the perfect way to help me keep track of my emotions and my stress levels and my energy in a way that protects me from myself.

Have you wanted to start journaling and don’t know how to start or when you try to journal do you get stuck and find yourself at a loss of what to actually put in the journal?

Sometimes all we need is a little prompt to get us going so the journal that I created will help you start your journaling journey.

 In my journal "Journaling It Out",  there are questions to answer that will help you organize some of your thoughts for the day and from there you can write about other thoughts that you have from your day.  This journal is 8x10 so it gives you lots of room to journal your thoughts.

 Y’all. Go check out my new journaling book. It’s pretty cool and I love using it to help me journal when I can’t get my journaling on.

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