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7 Lessons Journaling Has Taught Me


I have been stuck; truly, stuck in situations that I did not want. I have felt trapped in bad relationships. I have felt trapped in jobs in which I was overworked, underpaid, and undervalued. I have even lived in less than ideal situations. I have both the memories and journal entries to prove it. Just all around stuckness, with no motivation and monotone emotions. Disconnected.


In today's society, it is all too easy to disconnect. Which sounds crazy or contradictory when you think of just how connected we are. The beeping and buzzing of our phones and tablets from emails and notifications. The humming of the computers we use for email, social media, and streaming services. As discussed in our article, Dialing Down the Volume in a Noise Polluted World, "Noise literally interrupts and infiltrates many areas of our lives. This noise clutter can produce everything from sleep issues, impaired hearing, to agitation and stress related cardiovascular symptoms." Yet with all this connection, we often find ourselves disconnected, from ourselves. And this is where I found myself friends. Disconnected from me.


How did it happen?

Just when and how exactly did I disconnect. I've rolled these questions around in my brain off and on over the years. The truth is, there were stressors that occurred in my young life that should have never been. And like all humans, my stress response kicked in. When we face a threat, whether real or imagined, our bodies and minds respond by releasing hormones that provide a sudden surge of energy. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as the fight-flight-freeze response because it’s designed to help us detect danger and rescue ourselves from it fast. However, when these stress hormones are continually activated and released over extended periods, it can lead to chronic stress. This prolonged stress caused me to develop the “disconnect” instinct as a mechanism to protect me from emotional trauma. My mind effectively put up a guard on itself to maintain my sanity. The problem is, because of life circumstances, the disconnect instinct got repeatedly triggered by lower-key events. As this happened, I developed a more consistent pattern of emotional suppression thus losing touch with my true self in the process.


This of course wasn't the only reason I developed disconnect but it definitely was the catalyst that got this snowball rolling downhill. Add in the familial, religious, and societal pressures that asked me to pursue certain paths or act in certain ways out of a sense of duty to family and community, I learned to silence me. My desires, my passions, my goals not only took the back seat, I never even fully discovered or explored them.


The Dangers to Disconnected Living

The dangers vary for us all. For me, it manifested itself as having an anxious personality, low self-esteem, digestive issues, and as time went on, a suppressed immune system. Other things to be on the lookout for can include: depression, memory issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, increased aggression, obesity, fatigue, loss of energy, or fibromyalgia just to name a few. Now these things do not occur over night. Being disconnected becomes second nature over a long period of time. If any of this sounds like you, you know my spiel if you have been a long-time reader. Call up your primary care doctor, schedule an appointment, and get a full medical evaluation. From there, your primary care doctor can help you explore referral options to a qualified mental health practitioner. Another great way to reverse this sense of disconnectedness is by journaling.



Lessons Journaling Has Taught Me

Journaling is a practice of regularly writing down your thoughts, feelings, experiences, and reflections in a personal journal or diary. It's a form of self-expression and self-reflection that can take various forms, including written words, sketches, or a combination of both. I haven't always been the most consistent at this practice but about 4 years ago, I began regularly writing in both a manifestation journal and a gratitude journal. Here are a few lessons that I have learned along the way.

Self-Awareness

​Journaling is my private space. When I sit down and put pen to paper, it is here I can explore my thoughts, emotions, and experiences. By doing so regularly, I am able to examine my own mind and gain insight into my behaviors, my beliefs, and my thought patterns.

Memory Enhancement

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of sitting down with one of my old journals and reviewed many of its entries. There were so many things that had transpired in my life that I had forgotten all about. Keeping a journal serves as a record of our life's journey. Journaling aids memory retention and provides a unique insight into our past.

Stress Reduction

Speaking of that old journal, it held many painful memories for me. I am so grateful that I had that journal at that time. The act of journaling served as a form of emotional release. I could safely express my feelings and worries and for that moment it helped relieve some of the emotional burden I was carrying at that time. This practice aided in stress reduction and emotional regulation and enabled me to plug back in to myself and develop a more balanced and resilient mindset.

Gaining Clarity

I have endured my fair share of feeling overwhelmed at life's challenges. Having the outlet to write about my concerns, helps me create space to reconnect with myself and organize my thoughts around my situation. When I am able to articulate my issues or concerns, I find that often leads to clarity and the discovery of potential solutions to my problems.

Gratitude

I have lost count of how many times I have mentioned gratitude journal on EnvisionCo Blog. I began the practice of gratitude journaling on August 31, 2019. I'm not particularly wealthy or rich at the present moment by societal economic standards. However, I am abundantly blessed and prosperous through the love and support from my friends and family. And of course, those little everyday miracles that sometimes get overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Regularly acknowledging what I'm grateful for has shifted my perspective and lead to a more optimistic outlook.

Goal Setting

Whereas some may call it goal setting, I call it my manifestation journal. I don't pretend that I have all of the knowledge of the world or the universe. I just know from my own personal experience, that life changes when you write down your goals and vision for yourself. From time to time, I flip through my journal and am amazed at the things that were just a dream a few years ago or even a few months ago that are now my reality. Please, please don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself and make it as specific as you need. And once it comes to pass for you too, don't forget to crack open your gratitude journal and express gratitude for the manifestations that have come true for you.

Creative Expression

​Journaling is an open invitation to explore your creativity without judgment or constraints. My journal becomes the place where I can lower my inhibitions. It is my safe space where I can experiment, take risks, and express myself freely. It is the place where I can untighten release valve for my pent-up emotions without worrying about embarrassing the family or worrying about societal or religious rules or mores. My journal is a place where I can fully unclothe my perspective on my thoughts and emotions and more fully learn who I am and what I desire.

Tell us in the comments below. Do you journal? If so, how often? What lessons have you learned? Any similar or different to mine? In today's fast-paced world, where digital screens, constant distractions, and stressors dominate our lives, the practice of journaling offers a unique opportunity to connect with our true selves. Journaling is a holistic practice that promotes self-awareness, enhances memory, reduces stress, supports clarity in situations, enhances gratitude, promotes goal setting, and nourishes creativity. Journaling invites us on a journey inward, a conversation with the most intimate part of our being that often gets ignored. So, pick up a pen, open a fresh notebook, and embark on your own journaling adventure. You might just discover the transformative power of this age-old practice in your own life. And please remember that wherever you are on this wellness journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. Until next time. Happy reading!


"The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." ~Bertrand Russell
 

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