My therapist once told me, “If you talked to your friends like you talk to yourself, you wouldn’t have any.” It stuck with me so much at the time, because I couldn’t help but to engage in negative self-talk. You see, I used to be a type-A perfectionist. I mean, from making a mistake in an assignment for work, to forgetting to water some plants, feeling “too” “emotional” about seemingly superfluous things, the smallest things, my thoughts would be, “so stupid, why did you do that, get it together Angel, WTF,” and worst. My therapist, let’s call her Ms. L from here on out said, “Now don’t beat yourself up about beating yourself up. I want you to write down, in a journal, what you say to yourself inside, and read it aloud, and tell me how that makes you feel.” I did it, and that began my journaling practice. I found that every time I wrote my thoughts and feelings in a journal, it allowed me to process those thoughts, and rid myself of the emotions behind them. My journal became a mental health sounding board. A proverbial letter in a bottle. It became, and is, cathartic. I found myself looking forward to writing down the events, and ruminations of the day, like I was meeting a friend for coffee, a friend free of judgement, who’d allow me to tell my secrets. It’s become a part of my daily wellness routine. Wake up, pray, meditate, journal.
That’s why I encourage you, dear reader, especially while we face this pandemic down, to start a journaling practice. You don’t need a fancy notebook, you just need some paper. From a mental health perspective, journaling allows you to recognize patterns, and triggers, things that create fear, anxiety, or angst inside you, and healthyfully unpack them. You know, according to Ms. L, recognizing your depressive thought patterns (the events or things that trigger you to be sad, mad, angsty, etc.) is the key to beginning the healing process. Recognizing what triggers you can allow you to stop those triggers in their tracks, or at least, mitigate the second fear that they bring. Journaling relieves stress by literally allowing you to record, and get rid of negative thoughts. Let’s be honest, we’ve all had some extra-crazy thoughts here and there.
On the light side of things, journaling allows you to also process happy, and memorable events in your life. Having a bad day? Look back on all the blessings life has brought you to this point, and practice gratitude. I hope this bit of insight into my daily wellness routine helps you too. Want to start a journaling practice but can’t see your way to purchasing a journal? I’ve got you, hit me up. And as always, let me know how it goes.