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November 2010 - The Power of Journaling

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Is fear keeping you locked into old patterns and old beliefs, patterns which sabotage your dreams? We’re all familiar with the concept of keeping a diary to record life events, but if you’re looking for a powerful way to know yourself better and release the negative emotions, try journaling. Journaling is about recording your feelings regarding those events, especially the negative feelings like fear, anger, grief, and so on.

There are many different ways to journal, and we will explore some of them below. However, as with most of the techniques there is plenty of room to personalize it to suit your own preferences. Let your creativity lead you as you explore this powerful process.

Releasing The Past
One of the most transformative methods of journaling is to explore the past events and experiences that left you feeling powerless or frightened, and may still be affecting your life today.

For example, an incident of childhood sexual abuse may have created a strong fear response that flares up whenever you attempt to form an intimate relationship as an adult. Exploring the pain, guilt, shame, and anger relating to the sexual abuse can help greatly in purging those old emotions and finally starting the healing process.

How To Do It:
Simply grab your journal and a pen and start writing your thoughts about the experience(s), how they made you feel when they happened, and how they still affect you now. If the experiences involved another person (like an abuser), you can write letters directly to them to voice your feelings, or you can simply write as if you were telling a story.

The most difficult part of this process is that the old pain and fear you felt years ago can suddenly rise to the surface and threaten to overwhelm you again. However, the point is not to avoid feeling your feelings – but to process and purge them in healthy, constructive ways.

Exploring a Scary Possibility.
You can also journal to process fear regarding upcoming events or experiences. Similar to the automatic writing exercise, simply pour out your thoughts and fears about something that has you worried. You can also combine this exercise with Dale Carnegie‘s famous method and ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” (Dale Carnegie is the well known author of “Think & Grow Rich”.) Then put your answers in writing. For every answer, come up with a response that would help you to better handle such an outcome.

For example, if you were feeling tense about an upcoming visit to your doctor because he might give you a dire prognosis, you could write, “I’m afraid that the doctor will tell me that there is nothing he can do to help me. I fear the thought of living with this illness forever or even losing my life to it.”

Then focus on possible ways to cope with such a prognosis:
“Medical technology has come such a long way, there are probably at least a few treatments I could explore. Even if conventional medicine couldn’t help, there are alternative treatments that may work, not to mention my own determination to get well. I can handle any outcome to this visit and I‟m going to hold strong to my faith and trust that all will be well.”

Exploring Inner Blockages.
Another great application for journaling is exploring the inner blockages to living the life of your dreams. Start by writing a brief description or bulleted list of the type of life you wish you could have.

For example:

  • I would like to earn $150,000 per year.
  • I would love to own my own home.
  • I would love to find my soul mate.
  • I would love to travel once or twice a year.
  • I would love to start a family within the next few years.

Then examine each of these aspirations closely and ask yourself what may be holding you back from achieving them? Devote one or more pages to each item and write about the inner and outer factors that stand between you and the things you want.

Examples:
“I don’t believe I can earn such a big salary because I don’t feel talented enough to reach that level of success. Even if I did, it would probably be hard to maintain. I’d probably have to work long hours and sacrifice my social life, which I’m not willing to do.”

“I would love to own my own home, but my credit isn’t great so it’s probably not possible for me at this time. Even if I could improve my credit score, I already have substantial debt that I would need to pay down to handle a mortgage payment.”

As you explore the blockages your writing reveals, you should notice something very interesting: most often your blockages are nothing more than limiting beliefs!
For example, the salary situation described above. Is it really true that anyone who earns $150,000 or more yearly has no social life and works extra hard? Of course not. That is a limiting belief (and a common one, at that) and can be changed.

Becoming aware of these limiting beliefs is just the first step in the process; then you need to focus on transforming them into more empowering beliefs. There are many ways to do this on your own, such as using positive affirmations on a regular basis, learning to visualize what you truly desire as though you’ve already received it, listening to positive self-hypnosis CD’s, etc.

If you’d like to try journaling, you can simply grab a simple notebook and pen or if you prefer a more high-tech approach, there are many excellent and free journaling sites online such as http://penzu.com/

The fact of the matter is, you cannot change what you don’t know is operating. We all have many limiting programs operating on the unconscious or subconscious level. Many of these programs have been in operation since we were children. The good news is you can release them and form whole new positive belief systems that truly support your dreams.

And by the way, Hypnosis and TimeLine Therapy are powerful, quick and permanent ways to release you from your own self-sabotage. I can help you permanently make positive changes in as little as 2 – 3 sessions. When do you want to start?

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