After living with Multiple Sclerosis for over eighteen years, I’ve finally begun to cure it myself through the healing power of journal therapy. In 2001, I lost feeling on the right side of my body, making it difficult to walk and impossible to write with my dominant right hand. I needed a way to teach my left hand how to write. What better way than by starting a journal?
Heal Yourself from the Inside Out
I finally realized that the symptoms I was experiencing in my body had started in my mind, with my negative patterns of thinking. The inner critic in the back of my head gave a running commentary that made my body tighten up from stress and worry. It’s not a surprise that after decades of beating myself up mentally, I became debilitated physically.
We all carry burdens in our minds: memories of harsh words from our parents, or lists of things you did or didn’t do, for example. The goal is to clear your mind of this mental clutter, which impedes our progress at least as much as physical clutter does.
Journaling regularly helps clear your mental clutter and make a fresh start. When you put the pen to the page, you are free to write whatever you like, and be whomever you like. You can instantly invent new possibilities for yourself, and set goals. You can get worrisome thoughts out of your head, where they can wreak havoc, and onto paper, where they are only words. No matter what ailments or negative thoughts you’re experiencing, you can begin to heal them through journaling.
Simple Steps to Get Started
Gather your materials. Pick up a pen and notebook that you have lying around the house or go to a store and choose supplies that feel good to you. It’s your choice. Staples 1-subject wide ruled notebooks and Bic Ultimates pens work nicely for me.
Find a regular time to journal. For some, it’s the first thing they do in the morning. For others, it’s the last thing they do before going to bed. The most important thing is that it works for you, so you’ll stick with it.
Convince your inner critic to give journaling a try. You’ll probably experience resistance or what I call “page fright,” the intimidation of a blank page. Remind yourself how much healthier and happier you will be when you journal, even for a short while.
Write, write, write. We carry a lot of unhealthy “stuff” in our bodies and journaling is the place where we can throw out the garbage. The more writing you do, the better you feel and the clearer and more positive your thoughts become.
Three Exercises to Do with Your Healing Journal
Write about the most stressful event of your life. Write for 20 minutes straight. Tomorrow, do the same thing. You may write about the same topic or change topics. The important thing is to keep writing. If you need to fill time, repeat a previous topic, but don’t stop early. Do the same thing the next day, three days in all. This exercise is from a landmark mind-body health study that was published last spring in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Patients suffering from asthma and rheumatoid arthritis improved significantly when they completed the exercise.
Ten-Minute Missive: What Really Drives Me Crazy? Write for ten minutes straight on the topic, “What Really Drives Me Crazy Is…” Keep your pen on the paper. Permit whatever comes up to come up. After the ten minutes (or more) are up, read what you wrote or not. What are you feeling? Are you intrigued? Surprised? Disgusted? Frustrated?
Combine Writing and Meditation. Write down a question in your Journal. Take the question with you into a 4-5 minute meditation. Return to your Journal and write down the answer(s).
About the Author: Mari L. McCarthy
Mari L. McCarthy, The Journal/Writing Therapist, is CEO of http://www.CreatewriteNOW.com. She guides clients in starting and keeping a ‘Journaling for the Health of It personal journal for curing their dis-eases.
Her blog is Journal Therapy Cures at http://blog.createwritenow.com/.