Journaling for self improvement is an extremely effective technique. In this blog I am going to tell you why and how it has become an integral part of my practice and how you can do it too.
I’ve always had a driving force within me, that is rarely quiet, always persistent, nagging me to make a positive impact in this world we live in.
It’s been there since I was a kid and only grows stronger as the years progress.
This driving force is what led me into Registered Nursing, into Hypnotherapy. It’s what made me start a company providing health support in workplaces and it’s what drove me to share the benefits of essential oils and natural living with the world. It continues to drive me now in what I teach and encourage in others.
And amongst all of this striving I got married, had 3 kids and completely burned myself out. So 2019 was a year of healing and introspection. A year where I began to pull back the layers and work out how I could give in a capacity I feel driven to do while also looking after myself and my family. 2019 was a year of learning the truth about how purpose and balance work together.
The result is Aromanosis. A practice that teaches us to connect with and understand ourselves. When we know ourselves, how we think, what fuels us, what drains us, what our driving forces are…. When we know ourselves intimately, then and only then can we truly tap into and live out our purpose.
And in talking about purpose, I want to caution you in thinking that you have to be on some grand mission to heal the world. No, we all play different roles and they are all equally important and have nothing to do with how many people recognise and acknowledge who you are and what you are doing. Sometimes we are called to do something big and sometimes the work is quiet and behind the scenes. Both are needed and both are worthy. And the only way to know what is right for you, is to first know yourself and be fully self aware.
Aromanosis is a meditative practice combining hypnosis and essential oils. It’s a highly effective technique for tapping into the subconscious. You can learn more at https://michellemarsh.com.au/aromanosis/ and you can also download some free MP3s, so you can experience it yourself.
Part of the Aromanosis practice is also to use other techniques to help us connect and become self aware. When I talk about Aromanosis, I am talking about the Practice of becoming self aware. So it is the techniques we use that take us to this place of connection.
Today I want to talk about Journaling and how it helps us in our Aromanosis practice.
Lets start with what journaling is NOT:
> Writing down what you did for the day
> A specific format
> A work of art
Journaling for self improvement IS:
> Messy and changeable
> Sometimes difficult, sometimes flow
> A way to bring clarity and awareness.
The goal of journaling is to use the process to make yourself consciously aware of what is going on in your mind.
Let’s take negative self chatter for example. It is not unusual for someone to have thoughts like “I’m no good at anything, I don’t know why I bother to try. I might as well go curl up and die.”
Now when you write those words down in your journal, it brings them into full conscious focus and you become consciously aware of the brutality of them and as you continue in your writing, you eventually see how pointless they are. How they suck your life force.
As a basic starting point with journaling, I encourage you to spend 10 minutes every day (either morning or evening) writing down how you feel in the present moment.
Pretend you are a friend or counsellor, prompting yourself to dig deeper into every thought and word you write down. A tip here, is to ask yourself “why” so many times it drives you nuts. Another amazing question to ask yourself is, “Could the opposite be true?”
Here is an example, leading from the words above:
I’m no good at anything, I don’t know why I bother to try. I might as well go curl up and die.
Why do I say this?
It’s obvious. Every time I try my hardest it is never good enough. I am so sick of getting negative feedback.
Bloody hell, I don’t know. Negative feedback feels bad! I want someone to tell me I am good at something. I want someone to see my worth! I know I can do amazing things! I know I can, but no-one sees it. I am so sick of not being seen.
Why does it matter to be seen?
Maybe it doesn’t. But I feel like, if someone else said it then it would make it true. Noone cares.
Could the opposite be true?
Well I know my dog cares. And my kids love me. I know my parents care….. I just want Peter to acknowledge what I am doing. We have been married 3 years and I don’t think he even knows me…
As you can see in this made up example, at the beginning she is feeling worthless, like the whole world hates her. But as she digs deeper, the reality is that there is one person who she feel disconnected from. The next question she could ask herself is “What can I do about this?”
Is this how journaling for self improvement always evolves? No. But this is a good place of intention to start. There are other places you can start as well.
For example, asking yourself a question. One of my favourite prompts is to first ask,
“What in my life makes me feel good?”
“What in my life doesn’t make me feel good?”
“What can I do to get more of the things that make me feel good and less of the things that don’t?!”
Journalling can also take the form of writing down insights and dreams. I often find myself writing in this fashion, where ideas are forming and I have analogies popping into my head. I always imagine it as being new neural connections forming in my mind as my understanding of my world deepens and evolves.
What I really want you to take away from my words today, is that there is no right or wrong when it comes to journaling for self improvement. You only need an intention to learn and discover more about yourself and your world.
If you were to look in my journal, you would find beautifully written poems and insights scattered between angry and messy words where I have flung my unruly emotions at the page in a rage. You would also find pictures, scribbles, goals, business ideas, dreams, visions and everything in between.
I don’t make it a rule to go back and read my journal. For me it is an in the moment kind of thing. The act of writing is the tool that brings awareness. Sometimes, especially if I am emotional, I will write all my feelings on the page, take 5 minutes to breathe and then read what I have written. Quite often this brings a moment of shock as I consciously take on the state of my head and heart. And from there I can start asking myself those questions.
Could the opposite be true?
What do you really want?
How can you change this?
If you need help and support to learn this process, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on social media @happymemichelle. This is one of the things I teach in my Aromanosis Coaching practice as we navigate our way towards your desired life.