Write like nobody is reading
Once when I explained to my boss that often I can’t sleep during the night (after she told me I’m ‘not bubbly enough’! (well, I was working in a boring office job…)), she advised me to keep a diary and a pen next to my bed. When I feel my mind is overwhelmed with thoughts and I can’t sleep, she said I should open my diary and just write, write, write, until I exhaust myself. She explained that by doing so, my brain would quite happily shut down afterwards, and I’ll be able to sleep peacefully. And you know what? It actually works!
Write down everything that crosses your mind, on as many pages as you like in your diary. It doesn’t need to make any sense, our thoughts often don’t make sense, and can even contradict each other. You don’t have to care about any of the usual rules, such as using the correct grammar or spelling, or putting commas in the right places, and you don’t need to worry about having nice hand-writing either – just write! As fast as you can, as much as you can, and don’t fret about crossing out lines, or writing the biggest insults or swear words you know, nobody else is going to read it. After several minutes you’ll feel that your hand becomes tired, the muscles in your body will relax, your tension dissolves, and all the cortisol and adrenaline that’s been flooding through your stressed-out body and mind the whole day will slowly dissipate. And as you’re writing, don’t be surprised when you start yawning, and you feel your eyelids becoming heavier and heavier. When this happens though, just finish the sentence you’re writing… or your last thought… switch the light off and zzzzzzzzz…
Why keep a diary:
- It’s a permanent record of how your life has unfolded. There’s something magical about going back over the history of your life, observing it all from the vantage point of some future time.
- We all have wardrobes full of mental and emotional costumes that we dress up in to fit the changing circumstances of our lives. Your diary can help you befriend and integrate all your various costumes.
- Your diary is always there waiting for you, a friend at your fingertips, ready to listen and console. It is also a valuable tool in the process of personal growth.
- In your diary you can ventilate any strong feelings you might have that may not be appropriate for direct expression to other people. This will leave you feeling much more sane and sensible for actual conversations with others, in which you’ll likely be able to speak more assertively, and listen more attentively, too.
- Your conscious mind is like the tip of an iceberg. Writing a diary is an excellent way to access and draw information from other levels of your awareness and consciousness.
- Get in touch with your feelings, develop spontaneity, and hone your powers of intuition. Your diary is an incredibly useful tool for self-discovery.
- You are free to express your inner creativity on the pages of your diary. Write a poem, paint a picture, or even draw a nasty cartoon of your ex.
- There are NO rules.
- Date your entries. It also gives you the opportunity to observe cycles, patterns and trends.
- Start writing. Just begin. Put pen to paper, and go! And keep going too. Don’t look back. Don’t bother to correct any accidental mistakes you might make in word usage, spelling or grammar, either.
- Write quickly! Your internal censor and critic won’t catch up. Writing quickly gives you much more ready access to the information in your subconscious, because you’re not as liable to be thinking about what you’re writing.
- Write the truth! Don’t try to talk yourself out of knowing what you know, or feeling what you feel. Let yourself just be YOU.
- Protect your privacy. Store your diary in its own special place, so that the temptation for others to read it is diminished. Write a disclaimer on it, such as: KEEP OUT! Or something a bit nicer, like “Thank you for respecting my privacy” or “This is personal. Please don’t read it!”
About Journal Therapy:
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