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Dear Diary... 😬🤮

Updated: May 26


Journaling had always been a bit a turn off to me. It elicited images of a teenage girl writing “Dear Diary” with a heart over the “i”, lamenting her juvenile romance woes. With those cultural images, it was hard for me to see the benefit.


But, after reading The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. (journaling excerpt here), I began to consider the possibility that journaling may be a potential tool for my recovery.


Still unconvinced and not knowing where to start, I did not put pen to paper until a friend introduced me to Dr. Caroline Leaf’s neurocycle process. Neurocycle is a structured five step journaling technique to help train the brain to slow down racing thoughts and manage anxiety. (An app is also available here.)


Feeling like I had a starting point that made sense for me, I began journaling daily. Ultimately, the neurocycle format did not work for me, but it did give me a starting point to evolve and adapt. Over time, I developed my own 5-step daily process:


Body: A few words about how my body felt each day.

After completely ignoring my body until it protested with burn out, I thought it was important for me to formally acknowledge how it felt each day. “Tired” was my most frequent entry!

Mind: The top things on my mind.

Goals: Small, achievable self-care goals.

Gratitude: 6 unique gratitude statements.

Heart: Reminders for my heart and soul.


After journaling with this structure daily for one year, I started to notice that it was starting to feel laborious. I read that feeling as an indication to redirect my energies to other pursuits, while still maintaining other portions of my daily mindfulness practice (meditation and yoga).


Still, when I start to feel myself leaning more towards that “two lane dirt road,” I turn back to the practice for as long as it seems to help and be needed. Regardless of longevity, how I experience the world has been forever changed by the practice.


**Update**

Wellness coach and woman I admire , Steph Genco, recently published these beautiful, easy daily journal templates for no charge. I really wish I had these when I started on my journaling journey!

 

Disclaimer: This is a "one woman shop"! I was not blessed with proofing nor spelling super powers. If you spot a mistake, comment, email or DM me! I thank you in advance for your compassion and grace. ❤️


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