Monday, September 21, 2009

Emotional Journaling

I haven't written in - or even cracked the spine of - my Emotional Journal in many months. Back when I was early post-op and I took the 10 week group therapy classes about the Comprehensive Wellness Plan, Dr. Williams had us begin an Emotional Journal.

Basically, it was a dedicated spot to write about our feelings, emotions and mental ramblings and how they were affecting our behavior. Last week when Dr. Williams lead our support group meeting and I wrote the post here about emotions possibly contributing the weight loss plateaus.... I was reminded that it'd been too long since I'd pulled out the journal. So I dug it up and read some of my past entries. 

Over the weekend I started writing again. As I was on the beach at Lake Michigan enjoying the sunshine and the sand on our unseasonably warm weekend.... I wrote. And wrote and wrote. It was refreshing to get so much of it out of my head and down on paper. I won't go into the details of what I wrote because those are my private thoughts that I'm not ready to share with anyone. 

But I have recommitted to using the journal more often, writing regularly, not just when my head is too full to contain the thoughts any longer. I think of an Emotional Journal differently than a normal journal. In a normal journal you'd write about your day or interactions with other people or goals or whatever comes to mind. But an Emotional Journal is entirely about the emotions and feelings and mental stuff -- putting your deepest thoughts, fears, worries and ponderings into words for nobody to see or read but yourself. I know of some people who write and then immediately destroy the page so nobody can see them. Which is fine. It's the simple act of putting into words the emotions that are milling around in our heads. Giving meaning and credence to those emotions rather than just letting them bounce around in our minds with no outlet.

By putting them down on paper, they become real and begin to have a purpose - they become a motivation for change and understanding. If you haven't started an Emotional Journal, I encourage you to do it. It's hard. It's draining. But it nourishes the soul and gives you a way to understand yourself better. It helps me to understand myself better. And in that understanding, giving me a way to make the changes and improvements I want to see in myself.


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