As far back as I can remember I have written down anything that creates strong emotion within me. Happiness, excitement, gratitude, hope, ideas, sorrow, anger, grief of any kind. I have written it all down, allowing myself to just pour out whatever comes to mind.
Then one day (many, many years ago, but I can still remember the surprise) I discovered that this practice had a name, and one could even buy special books in which to do it. It is called journaling.
And so I journal. I must have journaled about every aspect of my life by now, but I don’t engage in general “diary keeping.” That is, I don’t just sit down each night and write out my day’s events. And, I don’t put myself under any pressure to journal if I don’t feel like it.
There is a reason for this. It works better to bring into my life what I want if I journal when I feel strongly about something and stick to the topic of my current passion.
This is because journaling involves several different things.
- the act of thinking out what to write,
- the act of writing,
- the act of reading what you have written (as you go, or immediately after),
- and it involves the act of (voluntarily or not) thinking over what you just wrote.
It can also, if you choose, involve re-reading your entry at a later time as often as you wish.
Dr Jim Richards describes handwriting as being “the back door to the subconscious… when you write by hand it influences your heart and your subconscious mind.” So when you write by hand, your subconscious is listening (or rather reading) along with you and drinking in whatever you have to say, and your heart is feeling the emotion.
Your subconscious mind, the part of your brain that motivates your conscious self to do what you do, is programmed by spaced repetition. That is, things repeated over and over, with a space in between repetitions. It is also influenced by the amount feeling or emotion you are experiencing.
So if you write on a specific topic when you are feeling emotionally engaged with that topic, you will be expressing more feeling, and so engaging your all-powerful subconscious mind to a greater level.
And once your subconscious believes in what you are writing and is engaged, watch out! It will have you do whatever it takes to make what it believes become a reality.
You may well have heard of the idea of visualization, including vision boards. You may also have heard of affirmations – saying something over and over to yourself.
Both of these work, and both of these are included automatically when you journal, and especially when you journal on the topic of your present emotion so that depth of feeling and engagement are part of the package.
The other thing that is important to mention is that your subconscious only understands the positive.
If you write “I do not want to be in debt” your subconscious understands that as “I do want to be in debt” and will do everything in its power to help you get there. Probably not what you wanted. So keep it positive. Change your wording around if necessary so you avoid the negative.
As you write you are not only engaged physically in the writing process. You are also engaged mentally in thinking out what to say, visually both in seeing and understanding the actual writing and in visioning in your mind what you are writing about. And you may well immediately strengthen the process by re-reading what you just wrote. And you can also re-read at any time, or write a new journal entry on the same topic.
Journaling is very healthy. It lets out feelings that if allowed to build up unexpressed can cause tension and stress (yes, even good feelings when too much become stressful). It helps us to think clearly and notice what inconsistencies we have allowed to creep into our thinking. And it gives us a way to program ourselves to get what we want out of life, both in giving and receiving.
So journal with passion. Journal as and when you feel passion. And journal in the positive. You’ll be glad you did.
Fiona MacKay Young