Why Journalling Is Good For You

by Polly N on April 24, 2012

There’s something pretty powerful about saying the unsaid. I’ve never been one to write in a diary religiously but in my teenage years I certainly recorded moments that seemed at the time to be monumental. Things like “Oh my god, I kissed Harry!” or “Matt said he liked me and then touched my hand!”. Yes things like that that when you read back 10 years later, you just have to laugh at! But these days, my journalling is more of a page vomit. Yes, nice analogy don’t you think? But that really is the best way to describe it as I do something called the Morning Pages.

Morning Pages is a tool I learnt from the author of “The Artist’s Way – A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self”, Julia Cameron. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is only for creative types as I believe it can help everyone whether they are an investment banker or a rodeo. If you’ve got stuff swimming around your head that keeps swimming that leaves you feeling frustrated, sick, stuck in a rut and tired, then I recommend you give Morning Pages a go.

What are Morning Pages?

“There’s a time every morning when we are half awake, half asleep and not quite fully conscious. At those moments, we have access to our unconscious mind and our inner workings. But like dew on the morning grass, it will soon be gone without a trace. Listening to these tender morning wisps allows us to reach into our inner world, the deeper part of ourselves that helps guide us on our path of transformation.”

Writing Morning Pages is simply allowing a stream of consciousness to pour out onto the page with no judgment, no criticism, no re-reading. Literally just vomiting all those nasty, whiney, moany, mean things we think about ourselves and others onto the page. Nothing is too much. No-one is going read it and it is SO much better out, than in. Any negative stuff that is kept in your body does not serve you and only keeps you from being your best self.

Cameron suggests writing 3 pages of A4 first thing in the morning. Many people ask me if they can do it at night after work and the answer is, you can but it kind of defeats the object as it sets you up for a clearer more peaceful day by offloading what needs to be said. I often find that by page 3 I have the answer to a question I’ve been mulling over. Sometimes it might take a few days to get there but it doesn’t take long for them to cut through the crap and get to the heart of what’s bothering you. It merely helps in “brain-draining”, which Cameron strongly recommends in order to feel lighter and brighter and release the blocks that are preventing you from being your authentic self.

Proof Journalling Is Good For You!

Journalling has been scientifically proven by Dr James W Pennebaker, psychologist at the University of Texas, not only to be good for our emotional health but also our physical health. His book Opening Up is filled with information on why suppressing inner problems takes a devastating toll on health, how long-buried trauma affects the immune system and how writing about your problems can improve your health. If you are holding onto powerful emotions without really expressing them, journaling about them can be a great way of releasing this internal stress. And you don’t need to have any regard for the usual rules of writing such as spelling, grammar or logical sequence as it’s for your eyes only!

Do you like to journal? Have you read The Artist’s Way?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma April 24, 2012 at 10:02 am

Hi Polly

I’m with you on this! I’m on week 10 of morning pages (with Suzy Greaves) and I know I am going to continue my journaling for a long time to come. I can’t quite believe how much I have changed over these last 10 weeks. I initially thought nothing much was happening but then I started listing things that have gone on over this period of time and it’s pretty bloody life changing but I have slid into it effortlessly!

So I highly recommend doing this and doing it with as much abandon as possible, no-one else need read your journal, it took me a while to get this in my head but as soon as I did I felt completely free to really spill! It’s liberating that’s for sure!

And a massive thank you to you Polly, I wouldn’t be doing this without you as you led me to Suzy – and of course this linked with juicing is a bit of a saviour!

Xxx

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polly April 24, 2012 at 10:08 am

Youre so welcome gorgeous! xx

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kate April 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

The Artist’s Way is brilliant. I first did it as a mature student at art school and found inspiration came to me whatever I did, no matter how mundane, because I was able to release all the negative energy and emotions that were getting in the way of my channeling of the creative divine. I find journaling is absolutely essential in getting to the heart of one’s truths and to the root of what one really thinks but hasn’t yet recognised about any life issue. It also means that one has to speak one’s truth as coming up against the same unspoken issues day after day on the page becomes boring if they are not released!
I have had 6 weeks off journalling due to a serious hand injury that left me unable to write or type, and really noticed how much more scratchy and snarly I felt without my daily dose of page chundering.
Love the blog, Polly, and so fascinated to hear about your Brazilian adventures. Have you noticed any more effects from your surgeries?
Kate

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polly April 24, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Hi Kate, so far, its been more emotional cleansing than anything and its certainly bringing lots of stuff up for me!! Watch this space and thanks for sharing! xx

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Regena April 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I have read a couple of Julie Cameron’s books and have them in my home library. In addtion to, I have the “Artist Way,” on cassette tape and listen to it often. I love journaling, but often times I find myself not being as committed as I want to be…other things such as working, taking care of personal matters and taking college courses keep me from being as committed as I would like. When I do get those free and rare spare moments I use journaling to clear the clutter in my head.

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polly April 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Hey Regena, I know – it takes commitment but you feel so much better when you do it!

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