As the world turmoils, how do you stay sane?
For me, it's through journaling. There isn't a problem that cannot be solved, an emotion that cannot be dealt with or an argument that cannot be resolved by putting pen to paper.
But journaling doesn't just solve your problems, it opens your mind to new and exciting possibilities, and delivers peace and harmony.
OK, I'm a writer, I love to write, but it's only this year I've started handwriting in a daily journal. It has changed my life in the following ways:
- I have more energy
- I have more creativity
- I'm more confident
- I'm less impatient
- I'm less anxious
The secret to journaling is this: there is no secret.
No writing skills or desire to become a writer are needed, and you write whatever you want to write about.
You might not know what to write at first.
So you might say something about the weather (torrential rain again!), or what you had for breakfast (porridge again!), but as you write, your mind unlocks. It opens into a blooming spring flower with numerous possibilities to explore.
To open the flow and activate this magic, write continuously without stopping.
If you can't think of anything to write - simply state 'I can't think of anything to write'.
Keep your journal safe from prying eyes, under lock and key if you must. It's important you feel safe sharing your deepest fears, desires and secrets within the pages.
If you start a daily journaling practice, I PROMISE YOU your life will open up in ways you never imagined.
Journaling is my no. 1 self-care practice, even above yoga, nutrition, and exercise.
Maybe you suffer from difficult emotions sometimes? I know I do.
It's hard to forget trauma from the past. We might think we've dealt with hurtful situations and put them to rest but they tend to keep cropping back up until we're ready to release them for good. Journaling can help us here.
I've had psychotherapy multiple times and for various reasons.
I wholeheartedly recommend it, just as I do coaching. Sometimes it can take only a small insight or question from another to help move us forward.
But therapy and coaching can be pricey, and it can be hard to find a good therapist exactly when you need one.
In journaling, you have a loving, kind loyal and supportive friend/therapist/coach that is always waiting to receive you and holds all the answers you seek.
The Question Technique
This is a method we can use when we want an answer to a specific question. We simply write the question down and wait for the answer to arrive.
It always comes, it's like magic.
We can write questions such as:
- Why do I feel so terrible every time I'm rejected?
- Who do I hate Janet at work?
- Why does my sister irritate me so much?
- Why can't I find a job I like?
- Why do I never have any free time?
- Why can't I stop eating?
- Why do I always choose partners that betray me?
- What's stopping me from going to the gym?
- Why can't I stop drinking white wine?
- Why am I procrastinating starting this new project?
By writing our questions down, we connect with our sub-conscious and get the deeply hidden answers that we're searching for.
Let's take a look at how this might play out:
What is stopping me from completing this work?
I don't want to.
Because I'm not sure how I'm going to do it.
Because last time I did some similar work someone criticised it.
What if they criticise this work?
So what if they do?
That doesn't feel very nice. My work mustn't be very good.
OK, BOOM, there we have it. The magic answer.
We think our work isn't good enough, which translates at the most basic level to I'M NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
OK, so now we have our magic answer, where do we go from here?
Another technique I use within the journaling process is writing affirmations, as and when appropriate.
If something revealing starts to emerge on the page about how I feel about myself (my self-limiting beliefs that we're all plagued with) I can immediately address it.
I do this by writing positive affirmations, and I'll stick with these affirmations for a few days until that energy dissipates.
Example affirmations to combat the above problem of putting off doing something:
- I am enough
- I am confident, smart and able.
- I am in control of my own life.
- No person, place or thing has any power over me.
- The universe supports me.
I'm always going on about affirmations, I can't help myself. They're *so* powerful. They work like magic to address the fu*ked up but totally normal critical beliefs we secretly think about ourselves.
Some final tips:
- Buy a beautiful notebook that's just for journaling.
- Keep it safe
- Journal for 20 mins every day, uninterrupted
- Write continually
- Watch the magic unfold
Let me know how you get on by emailing me at Hannah@TheFutureof40.com
To receive honest and absorbing stories to help us try and make sense of our world, plus self-care tips and ideas, please get on my special list - I send an email out most Sundays.
Hannah Anstee is a former British Wellness Journalist turned Women’s Midlife & Wellbeing Coach.
You may know her from her work as Beauty Editor at YOGA Magazine or her contributions to The Independent or Psychologies Magazine.
Hannah uses a kind and candid approach to help women rewrite their stories.