For just a couple dollars and a few minutes you can harness some serious health and habit changing power, without even breaking a sweat. Interested. I hope so. Today I’m going to break down why journaling is truly an impressive health and habit change tool, how it works, and what you can do to get started without feeling like you’re back in your high school English class. I’m passionate about this one because I’ve seen it work both for myself and so many women I’ve coached.
I was such a nerdy little girl and still am a pretty nerdy woman. I don’t mind because as I learned the skills of being a life coach, I've come to appreciate some of the things that I already do that serve me so well, and the first on the list is journaling.
Did any of you keep a journal as a young girl? I have one that started when I was 8 years old. I remember how good it felt, even then, to write down the secret thoughts in my mind and feelings from my heart. Once on paper I would then read it all again as if viewing a different world, my own world taken out of an angsty soul and onto a piece of paper where it felt less overwhelming.
Journaling can take places of deep pain from the shadows and into the light where you are capable of doing things about it. Journaling can clear up confusion, helping you piece reality back from the pieces of shattered heart. And, journaling is accessible, available with the need of only a cheap notebook and writing utensil, or the notes program in your phone.
However, even with all that lovingly said, I know many of my sweet sisters are far from convinced. You don’t want to look at your words on screen or paper and see another side of your imperfect person out in the open. However, I’m going to walk you through three key reasons that journaling is one of your most powerful assets then walk you through some tips to get started journaling in an easy way.
Writing brings things out in the open. When things are hidden they are often not brought into healing light. Let me give you an example of this. I am really good at harboring resentment. Things will build up in me until I don’t want to talk to anyone, I’m in a terrible mood, I feel unappreciated, and I’m completely unsatisfied with life. But, if asked, I really would have no idea why. When I pour it out on paper, suddenly I feel like less of a monster and more of a flawed human who needs a nap and hasn’t had a break in a few days. Just writing it down helps the weight lift from my heart and it is so much easier to invite God into my world because I’m no longer hiding from or shoving away my pain.
Writing uses the higher brain. I’ve discussed this often but let me recap the higher and lower brain. God beautifully designed your mind, but of course the Devil knows how to take advantage of our humanity, too. So, your higher brain is less emotional and way more logical. It can make great decisions and sift through information to serve you best. But, the lower brain is loud, emotional, and often takes over whenever it senses discomfort in any way. I truly think God designed us this way to keep us safe and keep us balanced. But, when the lower brain is running the show, it is hard to make great choices. When we write things down, our thoughts and circumstances become more black & white and less full of emotional baggage. We can sort things out then and begin to see how our thoughts and feelings can be acknowledged, healed, and changed. Without this process of writing things down, though, our lower brain continues to run the show because we can’t separate fact from emotional thoughts and reactions. This especially helps when we are trying to make changes but feel like we keep sabotaging ourselves. Afterall, when we realize that we don’t need to go to the candy bin out of anger and frustration because those feelings are being fed by a lie, then we can turn away from food for comfort and seek out the real healing for our pain instead.
Writing helps create habits and adopt life-giving thoughts. After you’ve done the work of sorting through the hurting thoughts and limiting beliefs you have in your head, it is the perfect time to write down life-giving truths about who you are and about your life. Writing them down is very different from just thinking about them. It is a declaration and it takes it out of your head and out where you can see it and believe it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sorted out all the hurt and realized most, if not all of it, was twisted truths or downright lies. Then, when I challenge those thoughts and beliefs I find peace with single phrases or sentences such as “I’m never alone.” “You’re doing good.” “God is within me.”
So, now that you have a better idea of how journaling can help, let's talk about two tips to get started.
Hey, before we part ways today, I want to encourage you not to feel like you need to get started and do this every day from the get go. Just set out at first to build those journaling muscles. You could start by just doing a weekly written response to this podcast, answering the questions I ask, or making connections to your history or current reality that it reminds you of. Set a timer for just a few minutes so your brain doesn’t freak out thinking you’re about to sit down and try to hash out an entire term paper.
Journaling is a gift and I know it will lend itself so much to your journey for change.
I love you so very much. Have a great day and I’ll talk to you next week.
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.