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Am I Journaling Correctly?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ann Miller, Aug 4, 2022.

  1. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    One question that I get often is, “Am I journaling correctly?”

    Short answer: Yes.

    Longer answer: I completely understand the question and the worry behind it. I felt the same while going through my healing journey. We want to know that we are doing everything we can possibly do the best way possible to feel better as soon as possible! Whew. Just writing that out sends tension through me. So I say, consider this very understandable question as a journaling prompt all in itself. In a hundred little ways every day we put pressure on ourselves…even in the work of relieving stress…we pressure ourselves.


    Big hug.

    Me too.

    So yes, if you’re journaling, you’re doing it correctly. Allow what bubbles up to do so naturally, in the time it takes for your brain to feel safe. Allow emotions when they arise. Allow nothing but stillness when it comes too. Allow joy and boredom and monotony. Allow the process to unfold for you in the way that is unique only to you.

    Show up and allow.
    JanAtheCPA, Celayne and Cap'n Spanky like this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, Ann - as you well know, there are SO many questions and concerns and judgements around journaling - especially the judgements!

    I would like to add that the word "journaling", to many people, means "keeping" a journal - which is not only completely unnecessary, it is actually not recommended. Knowing that you intend to keep what you write is counter-productive to therapeutic writing (Dr. Hanscom calls it "expressive" writing) because our brains WILL unconsciously edit what we write (mine did!) - which means that the honesty is likely to be non-existent. Experience the freedom of tossing it out immediately. (In the interest of saving paper, I wait until both sides are filled up with my scribbling, then I toss it - but I live alone, so no one will see it).

    If you're stuck, then write about that - just start writing down how you feel about being stuck and not knowing where to start. Curse and cuss and express your frustration. Just keep writing, or simply filling the page with swear words, or doodles or drawings or whatever.

    My counselor reminded me recently that it's actually well-documented that writing stuff down creates positive changes in our brain chemistry. Ending your writing session with something that you are grateful for - it doesn't matter what it is or how insignificant it might be - is also beneficial for our brains.
    Celayne likes this.
  3. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    YES! Absolutely the writing must be destroyed or deleted. When I fist started, I burned mine. Very cathartic. Now I just tear it up. Not only do you never want it found, you don't want to reread it. Just allow and release.
    JohnnyWindtunnel likes this.
  4. JohnnyWindtunnel

    JohnnyWindtunnel New Member

    Wow! I’m new to the forum. You’ve explained the journaling so well. I’ll start ripping it all up.

    I’m Using Sarno’s method because I developed TMS from unconscious narcissistic rage at being pressured into the Covid vaccine. I’ve thought I had a vaccine injury for a year and have been doing all kinds of treatments and tests and coming up with nothing of great value.

    I’ve developed costrochondritis (myofacial chest pain) and benign rare heart palipitations as TMS presentation. My wife, an osteopath believes my issues are TMS and I’m unconsciously mad at her for pressuring me into the vax — which is definitely true. (That on top of decades of repressed rage at whatever.)

    The symptoms are declining rapidly as I read mind body prescription and this journaling discussion is awesome!

    looking forward to reading more helpful discussions.
  5. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Nope. I can't throw mine away.
    It's hidden away in an e-notebook that I have (where I can write with a pen electronically).
    I had planned on deleting after each time I wrote but I can't do that. It does not hold me back. I write all kinds of mad shit. I strongly don't want to throw it out. Oddly I don't dare read the old ones but I could never throw them out. They were meaningful and I don't want to have them vanish.

    So -- I think the better way to think about it is -- If you want to throw it out and not save it after you write -- then you can. It will still serve its purpose but you don't HAVE to throw it out.

    "Must" is the wrong word.

    If you look at any research on expressive writing, they always offer throwing it away as an option not a requirement. For what it's worth, ( ironically) prior to learning about TMS, I researched all of the academic papers on therapeutic (aka "expressive") writing for one of my companies that has a writing platform. I wrote a number of articles and participated in a related webinar -- yet that was before I did therapeutic writing myself! Though I did a lot of writing about my past so that was, in a way, therapeutic as well.
  6. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    Okay, you're right. Must is a strong word.
    I recommend destroying or in some fashion not being able to find them and possibly ruminate on them.
    If you want to save yours, of course, be very true to yourself.
    Booble likes this.
  7. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    On the other hand, perhaps it's pathological that I can't/won't throw them out!
    Though I've still at this point and have no plans to go back and look at them. Maybe some day?

    Good point on not ruminating on them. I hadn't thought of that. I don't but perhaps some people might. I look at is as each day I get to have a whole new clean slate of things to write about! I look forward to it. Even when it sometimes gets cray cray.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Okay, I also will be more mindful of saying "must" regarding this issue, although I'm sure that I have done so more than once.

    Let's just say that I am a VERY firm believer in "get rid of it". VERY.

    I reeeally believe that most, if not all of us with typical TMS personalities will unconsciously edit what we write if we know it will continue to exist and can be read. That's a huge incentive to not write honestly, which is a huge downside. I just can't think of an upside!

    If someone wants a record of progress, they could keep a simple log, limited to a single line each day describing where they feel they are in their journey.
    Ann Miller likes this.
  9. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    I think for me if I had to throw it away I wouldn't be able to write. And I sure don't censor what I write. I guess we are all different.
    For me I find it kind of fascinating what comes out and so I don't want to throw that a way. That would be like disavowing all the stuff that comes out. I let my inner self speak (write) and it seems unfair as if I'm not listening or valuing it if I toss it a way like it's not important. Again, we're all different.
  10. fridaynotes

    fridaynotes Well known member

    i used to keep my journal writing intact but i realized that, like jan said, i was inadvertently censoring myself in a way that i do not when i know i’m going to rip it out and throw it away. i have even turned it into a “ritual” where i say after i have ripped it out that i “take all this writing out of my mind and body and toss it away as it no longer serves me” it’s very helpful.
    JanAtheCPA, Ann Miller and Booble like this.
  11. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    Being true to ourselves is a very critical lesson. Honestly, as the goodists and rule followers that we are, learning to listen to that deeper self is critical and such a gift.
    For me, absolutely, I would censor if I knew that I was keeping mine. In fact, I DID try keeping an example or two to share with clients who occasionally ask and they were lousy, with only surface emotions and on "safe" subjects. For me, destroying is best.
    And I completely respect Booble and their understanding of their own process.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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