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Why You Should Journal   11/07/16

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“I can shake off everything as I write. My sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn” Anne Frank

In an effort to change your mind and your habits, I’ll let you in on a well-kept secret: A pen coupled with paper can serve as a powerful life tool.

Journalling (or keeping letters or diaries) is an ancient tradition, one that dates back to at least 10th century Japan. Successful people throughout history have kept journals. Presidents have maintained them for posterity; other famous figures for their own purposes. Oscar Wilde, 19th century playwright, said: “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”

Writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health.The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. Begin journalling and begin experiencing these benefits:

  • Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.
  • Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being.
  • Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
  • Solve problems more effectively. Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
  • Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict.

In addition to all of these wonderful benefits, keeping a journal allows you to track patterns, trends and improvement and growth over time. When current circumstances appear insurmountable, you will be able to look back on previous dilemmas that you have since resolved, knowing that you have the inner resources to solve any dilemma,

Your journalling will be most effective if you do it daily for about 20 minutes. Begin anywhere, and forget spelling and punctuation. Privacy is key if you are to write without censor. Write quickly, as this frees your brain from “shoulds” and other blocks to successful journalling. If it helps, pick a theme for the day, week or month (for example, peace of mind, confusion, change or anger). The most important rule of all is that there are no rules.

Through your writing you’ll discover that your journal is an all-accepting, nonjudgmental friend. Best of luck on your journalling journey!

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What to do when you Discover Infidelity!    

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10 Ways to Calm Your Powerful Feelings

When you find out about the affair, the first few hours, days and weeks, even months,  can be emotionally wrenching to say the least. Or, if someone you deeply care about begins “pulling away” you may also experience intense feelings. Read through this list and pick out a couple of things you can do to help yourself during these times.

1. Walk. Run. Work out. Get the blood flowing. Physical exercise drains off the adrenaline and physically you feel better. You also think better of yourself because you are caring for you.

2. Talk. If you typically handle problems by talking them out, find someone who will listen as you pour your heart out. Give them explicit instructions: “I need to talk, vent, cry, rage, and question. Just look me in the eye, nod your head and listen.”

3. Write. Get a kitchen timer. Set it for 5 minutes. Spend that time writing…anything, everything that comes to your mind. Don’t censor. When the bell goes off say to yourself, “OK, there it is. Now I need to get on to other things. I will come back later and write more.” Put the writing in a safe place or destroy it. (This was my saving grace. I wrote in RED pen and I poured out my heart and soul. It was a life saver)

4. Find a safe place and spend some time there. Do you have a favorite lake, wooded area, park, room, chair where you feel safe and can get away? Intentionally spend some time there.

5. Use good “self talk.” Tell yourself, “You are OK. You will be OK. You will get through this. What you are feeling is normal and will not destroy you.” Develop that “observing part” that can speak to your turmoil.

6. Pray. Meditate. Use your spiritual resources, if you have them. If you don’t have them, it can be a good time to develop them. Spirituality often affirms your worth and enables you to see the larger picture.

7. Be aware. Notice what you are thinking, how you are feeling and what you are doing. Pay close attention to these chunks of your life. Just noticing often creates distance from the emotional pain.

8. Encourage the rhythm of your feelings. Your feelings will come and go often as waves. There will be lulls and sometimes they crash. Notice the intensity and frequency of the waves. Give them the time and acknowledgement they need. Journal if necessary. Then move on to the next thing.

9. Get professional help. Supportive therapy might be helpful. Personal and professional coaching, often via telephone or Skype, is a helpful phenomenon that is increasingly popular as a way to find support and direction for specific problems. (This is where I come in and say PLEASE contact me. I can help you.)

10. Gather resources. Start reading, exploring the internet and talking to people about your situation. Believe me, you are not alone. Many people have walked your path and they are there to offer their understanding. They can help point out the bends and turns of your road.
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Thanks to Dr Bob Huizinger for these words of wisdom.