Saturday, September 4, 2010

Journaling for Mental Health

I have found a tool that has been helping me and I'd like to share it.  Journaling!  It's not a new idea at all but the process and the function were new to me.  I was reading a book about how to access your creativity and the author recommended the following how to:
1.  Write as soon as you get up in the morning, until you fill up 3 pages.
2.  Don't think about what you're writing.  Just write whatever pops up into your head.  The important thing is to not stop until you've filled 3 pages.
3.  Never go back and read what you've written.  The point is to get the negative thoughts OUT.  (Reading it will just put them back in.)
4.  When the notebook is full, throw it out!

What this has done for me:
When I journal in this way, I find that most of the negative "chatter" swirling around in my head goes away.  I also find that I don't need to unload on people.  You know when you just want to complain to someone?  I find I have less of a need to do this when I journal in the mornings.  It's like emptying out what's bothering me onto the pages.
Lately, I have been dealing with fertility issues.  I hadn't realized I was going on and on about it so much until a coworker said to me, "Yes, Lyn, we KNOW!"  after I had made a comment about how much it sucks to not be able to have a child.  I don't want to burden people and I don't want them to get sick of hearing me.  I'm sure it makes me tiresome to be around.  Anyway, the journal is helping me.  I usually feel like I have an elephant on my heart, and this journaling activity lightens the load.

I'd encourage you to try this.  What do you need to unburden yourself of?


  1. Lyn, I'd always thought the point of journalling was to read it afterwards. It's such a great idea to 'empty your head' and then get rid of it. I know what you mean about just needing to talk about what's bothering you to someone, and then you feel bad that you've dumped it on them. I plan to try this for everyday annoyances and irritations. Thanks!

  2. Yes, some journaling is supposed to be read. (Like a diet journal, dream journal, or personal growth journal.) This particular type isn't though. I hadn't heard of it either until I read this book. (The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.) Good luck! Let me know how it works. :-)

  3. I think it is terrible that someone was so insensitive to say "We know!!". Unless they have experienced what you are experiencing, they have NO right to say that to you!! They should be a friend and be there to listen!
    I am so sorry there are some awful listeners out there!
    The journal idea is fantastic. I have done it many times in my life when I was upset about current events and so forth.

  4. Thanks Christi! It definitely did not feel good to hear her say that but it was a wake-up call. If people are sick of hearing about something, it does no good to babble on about it. (Although you're right - a true friend would listen, wouldn't they?) The journal does help, doesn't it?