The clarity of journals
Over the years, I’ve found keeping a personal journal to be incredibly useful. I simply write down whatever it is that I’m feeling and thinking at the time. Especially when I’m feeling stress, worry or other negative feelings, just the act of writing it down makes my thoughts clearer. Rather than a vague sense of unease, writing whatever comes to mind, without editing it first in my head, seems to help a great deal.
Once these thoughts are down on paper, many of the negative feelings are easier to let go. A common one for me is feeling “I’m a failure.” After writing this down, and comparing it to my life at present (great paying job, amazing wife, happier overall than I’ve ever been), it’s easy to dismiss as simply an old self-limiting habit.
Other fears about the future (“What if I can’t financially support our family?”) can also be clearly looked at on paper. The mantra “Don’t borrow trouble” seems to apply to many of these fears. Today, I can support our family. Plus, over the years I have been able to find new jobs, and with our financial cushion there’s not as much stress about how quickly this happens. So, no use being fearful today about something that hasn’t happened. It’s just making today less fun.
I also write down my fondest wishes for the future. I write down those things today for which I’m thankful. This really feels good – it brings into clarity all the wonder in my life today. (My health, wife, family, friends, home, food, clothes, living in a peaceful safe city, great California weather, music, books, and on and on..)
If you’re not already, I invite you to give it a try. Next time you’re feeling the blues, grab paper and pen, and just let your thoughts flow onto paper without edit. Just write and write until it’s all there on paper. Then, take a deep breath, calm yourself, and take a look at what you wrote. It just might help.
Image courtesy Nkuku Rustic Leather Journal.