The Perfect Reason to Journal Even if journaling is not your thing

Whenever Amanda walks in my office the first thing she does is pull out her constant companion, her journal, and bring me up to date on what transpired since our last session. I admired my client’s dedication to journaling. The process of chronicling her thoughts and insights on daily happenings works well for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People journal for a variety of reasons ranging from improving focus and mental clarity to experiencing a sense of accomplishment in recording achievements.

I rarely recommend journaling to my clients although I probably should. It can be a viable stress reliever, used to catch insightful thoughts and creative ideas, but frankly, journaling is not my thing. Why don’t I journal? It’s a process I don’t enjoy. Suffice it to say, different strokes. What works for Amanda doesn’t necessarily work for me.

But keep reading, as I do have one important singular exception to my personal journaling outlook. You can journal whenever you like, or not, but when a stressful situation results in a multitude of negative thoughts bouncing around in your brain, I recommend you sit in a quiet place and take pen to paper or tap away at your keyboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to studies at UCLA when participants wrote down their negative emotions, versus verbalizing, activity in the alarm center of the brain (called the amygdala) decreased. In layman’s terms, brain scans proved committing your feelings in writing stopped the madness. Once you quiet those gremlins in your head, tranquility sets in and you can calmly begin to sort the problem that had you bouncing off the walls.

Stop and think about a time when a stressful experience occurred that you did not handle very well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No doubt you stayed inside your head and held negative thoughts captive. Without a pathway to clear those pessimistic feelings, you ended up reacting to emotion and making poor decisions.  Perhaps you blurted out things you regret or acted impulsively.

Of course it’s too late to rewind what’s said and done, but never too late to employ this particular journaling strategy.  The next time you feel overwhelmed by a boatload of stress take a time out to steal away and capture all the pent up negativity on paper.

No judging and no editing anything out. Remember, this is for your eyes only. Write until you feel totally empty of all those bleak thoughts.

When you finish, take a deep cleansing breath and feel a calmness settle over you.  At that point, I believe you will find you are able to rationally and successfully deal with the issue. Give it a try!

Learning to Wait Thoughts on the Waiting Game

 

Last week was eventful. A close friend welcomed a new baby girl into the family while another dear friend said a final loving good-bye to her mother. What both events had in common was a period of waiting. Joyful anticipation built over the months as the new mom and her extended family prepared for the birth of a child. On the flip side, those who have experienced a loved one deal with a lingering illness know tremendous pain as those precious minutes slip away.

There are different types of waiting periods in life. Waiting to meet your soul mate, waiting for a house to sell, waiting for a cappuccino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

at your favorite coffee shop, waiting for summer to begin and the list goes on and on.

In the past, I totally sucked at waiting fervently wishing I could fast-forward time. Perhaps that is a common ailment in our “I want it now,” world. True, some things are out of our control and waiting periods fall into that category. Over the years I’ve learned to utilize the wait time wisely and respect the process.

Whoever coined the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait,” had a point. For example, a few years ago one of my single clients (let’s call her Tami) was obsessed with finding a mate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She went through one of those “What’s wrong with me,” scenarios.  Tami was a beautiful hard working accountant but spending most of her waking hours at the office took a toll on her ability to converse about anything other than balance sheets and journal entries.

My suggestion involved reducing her working hours to make room for a hobby. Following through with this plan Tami enrolled in a number of gourmet cooking classes and even began blogging about vegetarian cuisine.

 

By busying herself with a hobby, and back-burnering her focus on waiting for “the one” to show up, she began feeling fulfilled outside of the office.

 

Oh, and did I mention Mr. Wonderful eventually surfaced? Turns out she married the chef instructor of her Pastry 101 course. (Yes, good things do come to those who wait).

 

 

 

Tami’s experience can be applied to most periods of time requiring we patiently go into a holding pattern.

So how do you deal with an event you wish you could hurry along? First, accept that “wait” is not a nasty four letter word. Change your focus and make some plans while you’re sitting it out.

By doing so, in the interim, you might find you’re having the time of your life.

A Wall Worth Celebrating My Tribute to a Special Dad

 

My father-in-law was a very special guy. He was a hardworking man who loved life but what I remember most was the way he took pride in family wins.

Dad created a“Wall of Fame”along a hallway leading to his bedroom.

In an area most people would find the area suitable for beautiful art, he proudly displayed proof of any family achievement.

If a grandchild won a certificate for 1st place in a spelling-bee it hit the wall, when a his off-springs graduated copies of diplomas were framed and hung, and when I received a promotion, evidence of my corporate climb received billing on the wall. The entire family loved that wall, it spurred us on to work harder and aim higher, but most of all it taught us to celebrate success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All too often we set goals and make the upward climb forgetting to pause at the top of our mountain and savor the view. Stop for awhile, do your happy dance and take a well earned bow. Savor and enjoy the kudos sent your way from friends and family.

While you’re doing a victory lap, consider those who supported you.  Our star speller received encouragement and word drilling from a parent which helped her win the contest. Like our word queen, you probably didn’t get to the goal line without some help.  Be sure to pull your team into the celebration. Honor them with words of gratitude and praise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By sharing your good feelings you inspire others to forge on and capitalize on their dreams.

For multiple reasons, it’s important to avoid rushing on to tackle the next goal. Slow down and spend some time processing the win you just scored. Analyze what you learned, what worked, what didn’t, and which skills need improvement.

On your way to the next goal, mindfully elevate the journey. Take the time to celebrate the smaller milestones achieved en route.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doing so provides increased motivation to continue and bolsters self-esteem. Reward yourself with some small token, because you earned it. Experiencing joy in the journey is the point. If you wait until the deed is done to feel fulfilled, you may be waiting a very long time. By prolonging the sensation of those good dopamine vibes, you risk discouragement and defeat.

If I learned anything from the man who created the display of family accolades, it is all of the above. Although sadly both Dad and his wall are gone, I thank him for teaching me to celebrate not only my wins but each step along the way.