Do you journal?
Ernest Hemmingway was once asked to create a poem that could make you cry in six words. He wrote:
For Sale, Children’s shoes, Never worn. Ernest Hemmingway
This, as much as anything, shows that words imbue such meaning. They resonate through stories, they bring memories of friends and provide a fundamental part of a successful coaching journey. Words can also help you to find balance, reduce stress and achieve greater levels of wellness.
What’s journaling? Journaling is a process of writing down your feelings and emotions. It doesn’t require anything except a pen and paper. It makes sense really. Did you ever have that feeling whilst you were at school that, when answering an essay, you’d stepped into the paper and everything around you was eliminated? You were completely focused on one thing. That is a meditative state.
How does that help? There have been many scientific studies into the benefits of journaling and they are vast. Michael Grothaus found, in 2015, that journaling strengthened the immune system, caused a drop in blood pressure, helped you sleep better, and generally kept you feeling healthy. It is also prescribed by GPs as a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and these positives are outlined brilliantly on Positive Psychology
So what should I do? People approach the process of writing in different ways and there is no wrong way to go about writing. Give it a go! The centre for journal therapy, however, use this useful acronym to help people to WRITE:
W– What do you want to write about? Think about what is going on in your life, your current thoughts and feelings, what you’re striving towards or trying to avoid right now. Give it a name and put it all on paper.
R – Review or reflect on it. Take a few moments to be still, calm your breath, and focus. Try to start sentences with “I” statements like “I feel…”, “I want…”, and, “I think…” Also, try to keep them in the present tense, with sentence stems like “Today…”, “Right now…”, or “In this moment…”.
I – Investigate your thoughts and feelings through your writing. Just keep going! If you feel you have run out of things to write or your mind starts to wander, take a moment to re-focus (another opportunity for mindfulness meditation!), read over what you have just written, and continue on.
T – Time yourself to ensure that you write for at least 5 minutes (or whatever your current goal is). Write down your start time and the projected end time based on your goal at the top of your page. Set a timer or alarm to go off when the time period you have set is up.
E – Exit strategically and with introspection. Read what you have written and take a moment to reflect on it. Sum up your takeaway in one or two sentences, starting with statements like “As I read this, I notice…”, “I’m aware of…”, or “I feel…” If you have any action items or steps you would like to take next, write them down now.
The easiest way to journal
Will it help my anxiety? There is no cure for anxiety. Most agree that to help combat anxiety, we should try a variety of strategies: gardening, colouring, exercise, sleeping and having fun are all crucially important and journaling is another tool at our disposal to keep anxiety at bay. After all variety is the spice of life. Again there is good science suggesting that journaling works. In 2018, Star found that journaling helped in:
Calming and clearing your mind;
Releasing pent-up feelings and everyday stress;
Letting go of negative thoughts;
Exploring your experiences with anxiety;
Writing about your struggles and your successes;
Enhancing your self-awareness and teaching you about your triggers;
Tracking your progress as you undergo treatment
What do we offer at With Beth? It’s our mission to help you live a more balanced, healthful life, our services below are great ways to get started. Meditation Essential Oils Coaching Not sure what you need? Book a one on one to discuss how we can create more balance in your life.