Journaling, A Life Changing Habit.
If you’ve been following me for a while you probably know that I have a history of eating disorders. I have struggled with food and my body for almost a decade. One of the things that kept my eating disorder going was blocking my emotions. I was disconnected with myself. I felt like an empty vessel, very lost and not knowing what I want.
One day I came across an old notebook in which I used to write poems as a child. I thought - this is interesting! When did I abandon this habit? When did I lose contact with myself? It triggered something in me. I immediately grabbed a notebook and started scribbling. I wrote with no purpose and by the end I felt a strong sense of expansion. From that day on I embraced the habit of journaling as a powerful tool to navigate through difficult emotions that otherwise would have kept getting pushed away.
I don’t journal everyday but probably about 3-4 times a week. On the days I don’t I keep my 5 minutes journal. This is my way to insure I start my day connected with myself, my desires, my emotions, my intentions etc.
How can journaling help you?
Writing is a great way to create space between your thoughts, emotions and actions. It’s a way to facilitate clarity and work through your ‘stuff’.
If you are feeling stuck and want to get excited about life again try ‘daydreaming with your journal’. Create space to express your deeper dreams and desires.
If you struggle with food and diets you probably feel like you don’t know anymore what brings you happiness. Journaling is a good place to start exploring what brings you joy. The more you journal about things you enjoy and make them reality the less you’ll need to turn into food to find joy.
If you are experiencing some sort of emotional pain (whether it’s related to weight/dieting or not) it is most probably not the problem itself that leads you to feel unhappy (which can result in food binges/cigarettes/tv binges…) but it is a lack of self care. ‘Emotional Eating’ is not a ‘self control’ problem but a ‘self care’ problem. Whatever your ‘drug of choice’ or your ‘addiction’ is, it’s a symptom, it’s not the problem. The root cause is a lack of connection. Journaling will help you find that connection.
(note that I am not talking about clinical addictions here).
How to start without getting stuck in the ‘dear dairy’ part?
The best time to journal is early in the morning. Before you did anything else. That’s when your mind should be the least active, specially that rational part of your brain. That’s when we have more access to our unconscious mind, so our writing will be more intuitive.
If you are familiar with the practice of meditation or open to start practicing it, try to journal straight after your morning session. Keep your journal next to you and let the words flow.
Free writing - Let your pen flow, don’t overthink it and don’t edit it. Overthinking it is what creates resistance. Try writing for at least 5-10 minutes and don’t stop until that time has passed.
It doesn’t matter what you are writing about, what matters is that you write without stopping, without thinking. Once you get used to the habit of journaling it will become easier.
Start with 3 times a week for 10 minutes, focusing on one thing.
If you are still stuck, not knowing where to start, write down at the top of your page one of the following questions:
What is it that will make me happy today?
What in my life feels light and uplifting?
What in my life feels heavy and draining?
What do I want more of in my life?
What do I want less of in my life?
What is my next step?
When did I feel the best? When did I feel the most alive?
If I had to choose only one thing to focus on this month, what will it be?
How does my ideal day look like? How will I feel? What will I do? Who will I spend time with? What will I say No to?
In my ideal life, what will my day look like? How will I look like? How will my house look like?
Hope you find this helpful. Like any new thing you try, it will be hard at first but with practice it will get easier.
Approach it with openness and curiosity.