Just as it goes with mindfulness meditation, so it goes when it comes to mindful journaling. What makes anything mindful? Is it simply thinking about something ~ focusing on it ~ or does it go beyond that?
Maybe, it is a bit of both. As you know, your mind is filled with thoughts throughout the day ~ thousands of them. What is the quality of your thoughtful process? It is true that we can get very focused on our thoughts ~ otherwise known as the hamster wheel. So, our focus is an element of mindfulness.
We can also stop to consider what it is we are focusing on. What are we giving additional energy to when it comes to our thoughts? If you’re anything like me, I have caught myself more times than I care to admit, pouring heap loads of energy into thoughts that only serve to tear me down. That investment of energy really comes from the emotions that I insert into the equation. If I take a mindful approach, I remember to stay emotionally detached from the thoughts that I notice. I remember that I have the option to simply watch them go by in a state of suspended judgment with an open mind and heart geared toward deeper understanding.
So, then maybe, it comes down to how we focus on thoughts as opposed to their content. To simply be present and engaged in the process.
Pour Yourself Into The Page
This state of presence and engagement is exactly the place we want to create when embarking on a mindful journaling practice. In doing so, we have the opportunity to take the bird’s eye view of our lives. The process of expressing internal observations on the page in itself gives us that bit of distance we need in order to see it ~ and feel it ~ eventually re-interpret it in a very different way. And it doesn’t take much.
When we give voice to our internal self-talk through the written word, we become more able to hear it and to give it the attention it has been longing for. When we take a step back from the internal spinning, we are able to more efficiently detangle the complexities of our experience.
Bringing presence to the journaling practice, allows for the emergence of insights that might have otherwise been overlooked. These insights can provide a wealth of information with regard to belief systems and values structures that lay beneath the surface and drive our interpretations of ourselves, our lives, and the world around us. And that is a huge gift. Once we receive this awareness, we are in a place of power with the capacity to make adjustments to any aspect of our personal lens.
Mindful journaling also offers the opportunity to receive the gift of your own heart’s counsel. You are given the chance to demonstrate heartfelt acceptance of who you are in this moment. When you are able to both offer and receive this grace within your being, it is less likely that you will desperately seek it from external sources. And this is powerful.
This access to deeper personal power is one of the many benefits that you can expect through mindful journaling. Show your commitment to cultivating this relationship with yourself and spend some time on the page.
On the next episode of Serving Consciously on Friday July 27, 2018 at 12pm PST, my guest Lynda Monk will join me for an in-depth discussion of the role of journaling in the healing process and as a tool of self-connection. Just tune in at www.ctrnetwork.com to listen in.
Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC is the Director of the International Association for Journal Writing (http://iajw.org), as well as Thrive Training and Coaching (http://lyndamonk.com). As a Registered Social Worker and Certified Professional Coach, Lynda has a passion for and speciality in therapeutic journaling for self-care and well-being.
She is the co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journaling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection, as well as co-author of the international bestseller Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Choosing Happiness. She is also the author of Life Source Writing: A Reflective Journaling Practice for Self-Discovery, Self-Care, Wellness and Creativity and producer of the Creative Wellness Guided Meditations.
Lynda has trained thousands of social workers, helping, and healing and healthcare professionals in the areas of burnout prevention, compassion fatigue, stress management, vicarious trauma and resiliency for caregivers. Lynda lives with her family on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada where she tries her best to write for wellness everyday.
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Share your experience with a journaling practice in your life.