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Overcoming Resistance to Journaling

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    One of the biggest problems I have always run into when trying to journal has been sitting down to do it. When there is something I have to do, I tend to put it off. When it comes to journaling though, I have always felt a lot of resistance to doing it (Hey, I have TMS of course I resist exploring my emotions:cool:).

    One idea I recently came across was to just give myself five minutes instead of a longer chunk of time. I think this can really be helpful to people, who like me, have difficulty putting pen to paper. If you just set a timer for five minutes, it seems like it will be more manageable. It seems a lot easier to fit five minutes into your day then a 30 minute chunk.

    The other idea - if this is too much - is to just right down 6 words describing your day. No sentences just six words about your idea or how you feel. This seems much more manageable to me. It may be short, and it may not really get deep into your past, but I think we can express a lot in six words. I will start trying this and let everyone know how it goes.
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Good idea! I haven't been journaling much lately, maybe I'll try this.
  3. Livvygurl

    Livvygurl Well known member

    Sounds like a great way to ease into the idea of journaling. It could also be a good way to check-in with the self, on busy days. I was initially resistant to journaling and now I am addicted to it. I feel a sense of relief after I have really explored my feelings from an event. Through journaling I feel like I can unlock the past and put a new spin on a situation. I become more self accepting and at peace with what once was. There is a lot of power in containing feelings through writing!
    eric watson likes this.
  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is really what I was hoping for. I have always had difficult starting it up, so maybe doing it this way will ease me into it. I hear from so many of you that journaling is really helpful so I want to give it a real try at some point.
    eric watson and Livvygurl like this.
  5. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    i feel the same way you do forest. i tell myself im going to journal or do meditation every night but there is some unconscious resistance to me doing it. i always procrastinate it off until its 11:00 now and its time to go to bed.. so no more time for it. i literally have to force myself to journal and do meditation type stuff otherwise its not going to happen.
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I find that if I do breathing exercises first before journaling, then I am already in the right focused frame of mind that lets me access repressed emotions and allows me to free associate better too. Sometimes beginning a journaling session by listening to one of Dr. Schubiner's guided meditations on the Unlearn Your Pain CD also gets me into a better open frame of mind needed to access deeply buried emotional material. But I have to confess that I run out of energy to journal too so I have to use tricks like that to prepare myself for entering into the activity.
    eric watson likes this.
  7. Livvygurl

    Livvygurl Well known member

    Today at lunch I went on one of the biggest ferris wheels in the USA. It is located on the waterfront and is called “The Great Wheel". I scared myself - I knew I was going to journal about something heavy later in the day. There is nothing easy about all this self-introspection. It may be more difficult for guys due to all the societal rules about being strong and not showing emotion. I am a really emotional person but even as a woman I feel like our world is not tolerant about the display of emotion. People like to be in control and feeling sadness can be an out of control experience. It can also be really cathartic, so there are layers to this expression game.

    Ps Next parasailing?
  8. Peter Zafirides

    Peter Zafirides Physician

    Great topic. I see this issue come up in practice and I have personally experienced it as well. Dabatross, I can't totally relate. I think Forest's suggestions are spot-on. Just getting started is the most important goal at first. What I have found to be helpful at the beginning - and a strategy I have personally used as well - is to use a monthly calendar and simply write a number down that represents how I feel for the day. I will usually split the day into morning/afternoon/evening scoring, but the main point is that you begin to journal.

    Often, as we begin to see trends and patterns in the month, it can encourage us to participate more.

    A simple strategy to consider. I hope it is helpful to some of you.

    -Dr. Z
    eric watson likes this.
  9. Endless luke

    Endless luke Well known member

    One method I'm experimenting with is to just write out some of the ten beliefs and then see what happens. If something occurs to me then I can journal if not I can write out the beliefs again.
    eric watson likes this.
  10. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Remember the point of journaling is exploring your FEELINGS. Try writing about how you FEEL--not how you think.

    And I found it important to end to end my journaling with a positive statement! View whatever the topic is from a different angle if you can---even if it's as simple as "I am ready to heal this [hurt/event/situation]."

    The rewards are worth the time and effort!
    eric watson likes this.
  11. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Rather than just running on about some repressed emotion or traumatic past experience, I have found that the spider-write technique used in some of Dr Schubiner's exercises in Unlearn Your Pain seems to open up and reveal emotional content I have repressed into my unconscious better than a long discursive free-write exercise. I think it's because the element of free-association dregs up material associated with the first emotion at the center of the spider write. You don't get the opportunity to edit or rewrite because the deeper pattern of emotional associations is making the connections for you beneath your conscious willed intentionality. Buried stuff just rises up. One interesting follow up to a spider write session that I discovered on my lonesome was taking the spider write and constructing a full sentence linking all the free associated emotions and ideas in the chain. Startling and revealing! You can actually read in a full sentence what your unconscious mind was trying to articulate while free associating during the spider write. Also, if you use your non-dominant hand while writing, it seems like it's easier for latent, unedited psychological material to rise up and manifest. I think that might have something to do with deprogramming your habitual nerve pathways, but am not certain how it works.
    Jilly likes this.
  12. PaperCrane

    PaperCrane Peer Supporter

    I've tried to get back into journaling regularly and have been feeling some resistance to it, as well. I think a big part of my resistance has been from my tendency to push myself too hard and feel that I've failed every journaling session that doesn't lead to a big epiphany. But, I've been trying to tell myself that even if I don't manage to get too deep below the surface every time and just spend some time writing to sort out what's in my head at the moment, there is value to that, too. For me, just re-training myself to acknowledge and sort through my emotions is a good thing and it's just making it a regular habit that's important. Big breakthroughs might be fairly few and far between, but you've got play to win, as they say.
    Jilly and Becca like this.
  13. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    When I first read the Divided Mind I put Dr Sarno's advice into practice and generated a huge typed journal of past traumatic events, current stressors and personality traits. I did the same thing again in long hand when I worked the SEP 5 months ago. Then, I did all the written exercises in Howard Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain. However, I noticed that in all three exercises the same material kept coming up again and again. One of the dominant ledes among the past traumatic events that kept repeating was fear of abandonment by and separation from my mother and probably my father too. They had a stormy relationship during the first 6 years of my life that continued throughout their marriage. This sounds like the first part of the two-part trauma scenario that often occurs in individuals who develop TMS symptoms later on after a second traumatic event that reignites old wounds left over from the first trauma. Having watched the film strip three times now I've become more self-confident about my TMS diagnosis. Rather than running the video over and over again by journaling, now I've found it's more expeditious for me, at least, to do guided meditations on specific traumatic events and personality traits while doing breathing exercises. But that's me and, of course, I've been through the journaling process three times now. I sometimes pick up my old typed journals and use them to select themes for meditation of course. I've also found that becoming extremely mindful of the various parts of my body during guided meditation lets me access implicit emotional memories. But as they say, whatever works for you! If you find yourself becoming burned out with journaling, by all means stop for a while and return to it later on.
    zclesa and Jilly like this.
  14. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    paperCrane--every session may not lead to an epiphany though it's great when it does.
    Sometimes just unloading feelings about something works for me and adjusts my viewpoint.
    And you're definitely on the right track with acknowledging your emotions!
    eric watson likes this.
  15. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    Wow, did this resonate. I really think that the shooting I was involved in brought up all the traumas from my childhood and reopened all those wounds. I also think that as I tried to suppress them a second time it made things much, much worse and I left me vulnerable to experiencing other events that weren't even necessarily that traumatic but seemed more so due to the fact that those wounds were just left gaping.


    I am so grateful for this place - thank you guys for sharing your experiences and your wisdom.
    Jilly, eric watson and MorComm like this.
  16. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Layne: I ran across the Two-Trauma Mechanism on p. 124 of Steve Ozanich's The Great Pain Deception, where Steve says, "Psychiatrist Clancy McKensie revolutionized the understanding of schizophrenia and depression as well as post-traumatic stress disorders that produce depression and anxiety. He discovered a Two-Trauma Mechanism in the 1980s by 'identifying the mechanism by which emotional trauma produces changes in brain chemistry and structure.'" This seems to be echoed as well in Peter Levin's Waking the Tiger, which addresses the effects of PTSD along with developmental trauma in childhood.

    While there is no direct reference to the development of chronic pain symptoms in these two sources, Steve O. thinks this is part of the classic pattern behind the genesis of TMS. Seems as though Dr. Sarno and Howard Schubiner both agree with him. This is just my two-bits worth, but it seems as though the trauma is stored and repressed in implicit emotional memory that can be triggered again by a subsequent traumatic event that has a similar emotional valence that links it to the initial trauma. Like many years ago when I broke my heel, fractured my skull and broke my nose, I felt alone and abandoned by my parents. Then, many years later, when my mother died and I again felt abandoned and alone, I developed chronic lower back pain and sciatica in my left leg, which was the same one I'd broken long ago. Emotional memories seem to be linked somehow within the autonomic nervous system.

    For example, I know a young woman up in Yosemite who broke her jaw and ribs and arm in an auto crash. Then, two years later when she was divorced, she developed all-over body pain that was diagnosed as fibromyalgia. While only anecdotal, her story seems to illustrate this same two-part process.

    Such "psychological laws" aren't hard rocket science, of course, but once you start to notice how traumas tend to repeat themselves in the same individual or even in the same family, you'll notice this kind of stuff going on all around you all the time. I have a hunch that it happens likewise on a global scale within tribes and nations too. But how? You tell me and we'll both know! WWII certainly followed inevitably from the trauma of the trenches in WWI.
    zclesa, Layne, Jilly and 1 other person like this.
  17. Pandamonium

    Pandamonium Well known member

    I used to something similar, I used to rate my day red, orange or green, and stick a dot on the calendar. Seeing the reds being overtaken by the greens over the months was very encouraging.
    Jilly and Forest like this.
  18. Jilly

    Jilly Well known member

    It's called Collective Consciousness....we're all connected.

    Durkheim used the term in his books The Division of Labour in Society (1893), Rules of the Sociological Method (1895), Suicide(1897), and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912). In The Division of Labour, Durkheim argued that in traditional/primitive societies (those based around clan, family or tribal relationships) totemic religion played an important role in uniting members through the creation of a common consciousness (conscience collective in the original French). In societies of this type, the contents of an individual's consciousness are largely shared in common with all other members of their society, creating amechanical solidarity through mutual likeness.
    The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society forms a determinate system with a life of its own. It can be termed the collective or creative consciousness.
    —Emile Durkheim[6]
    In Suicide, Durkheim developed the concept of anomie to refer to the social rather than individual causes of suicide. This relates to the concept of collective consciousness as if there is a lack of integration or solidarity in society then suicide rates will be higher.[7]

    Society is made up of various collective groups, such as the family, community, organizations, regions, nations which as Burns and Egdahl state "can be considered to possess agential capabilities: to think, judge, decide, act, reform; to conceptualize self and others as well as self's actions and interactions; and to reflect."[10](italics in the original). Burns and Egdahl note that during the Second World War different nations behaved differently towards their Jewish populations.[11] The Jewish populations of Bulgaria and Denmark survived whereas the majority of the Jewish populations in Slovakia and Hungary did not survive the Holocaust. It is suggested that these different national behaviors vary according to the different collective consciousness between nations. This illustrates that differences in collective consciousness can have practical significance.

    Layne likes this.
  19. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think that during the Renaissance, Henry Moore and the Cambridge Neoplatonists referred to 'collective consciousness' as the Anima Mundi, roughly translated from the latin as 'World Mind':


    But the concept is rooted in the Neoplatonist School that florished in Alexandria, Egypt during the 3rd century AD:


    So interest in the interconnectedness of mind and body goes back a long, long way!

    I think it's fairly obvious too why the Jewish populations of Denmark survived and those of Slovakia and Hungary did not. In Denmark the fisherman formed an ad hoc armada of small boats and transported their Jews to the safety of Sweden. Whereas, in Hungary and Slovakia, their neighbors "ratted" on them to the Gestapo and the SS. Also, Denmark is a Western democratic nation with a tradition of fair play and tolerance. Now, Hungary and Slovakia . . . an entirely different matter.

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