The Dangers of Journaling

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I’m sure that the majority of people reading this have engaged in journaling at some point in their life.  By the time most people are adults, they have engaged in written word vomit at least once in their life. If you have (or currently are) doing any form of negative written language about yourself or your circumstances, PLEASE STOP NOW.  I literally cringe when I hear people say any variety of the following things: I was told to just make a list of all the things I don’t like about myself, I wrote all of my fears down on paper, or I wrote out all the things I have screwed up. If you have ever written anything negative about yourself please read this blog. I have heard it said, “Well I’m not hurting anyone by writing these things and it helps me to feel better.”  I highly object to these statements because YOU are listening. And more relevantly your subconscious mind is listening. Every word that you write after the words I AM your subconscious mind sets out to achieve for you.  It’s essential to  know some very critical components of your subconscious mind. Here’s what I would like you to keep in mind:

  • 96-98% Of habits and behaviors are stored in your subconscious mind.
  • Your subconscious mind only knows the present (it doesn’t understand past or future)
  • Your Subconscious mind is very oriented to action words.
  • Hand writing things access your subconscious mind much quicker than typing out the words you are writing.
  • What you write, using the words, “I am” is programming your subconscious mind for things that you want to have occur.

Let me just give you an example of how this plays out for many people.  How many people do you know who struggled to see themselves as they actually are?  From my own experience, I always thought I was fat and ugly. I absolutely believed I was overweight to the core of my being. I wrote it, thought it, saw it, visualized it, etc.  I absolutely reinforced it enough until the issue was created. We become what we believe we are, what we reinforce we are.

I understand that writing is very cathartic for many people. I also understand that people need and desire the outlet that writing provides them.  Therefore I would like to offer you some suggestions of things that deserve your attention and deserve to be written.

  1. Make a list of things that you are grateful for. My favorite format is: I am grateful for ____because ______. Gratitude is such a huge component of my life. It shifts the energy you are currently experiencing, as well as allows you to engage the law of attraction to bring more of that experience to you.
  2. Write a list of what you want to experience (achieve, create, etc.) in your life as if they have all already occurred. (I am a published author, etc.) Remember your subconscious mind is present tense focused. If you write things as if they have already occurred, it programs your subconscious mind to allow those things to happen.
  3. Make a list of things that you have done well that day. This is such a substantial shift for most people that I recommend it to most of my clients. We have become a society that is focused on the negative (what you didn’t do well, how someone else upset you, etc). I always tell my clients that when you are angry it becomes easier and easier to find things to be angry about. The same thing can be said for happiness.
  4. Make a list of the positive things about the people in your life. This is especially true if you have any stressful relationships or relationships that you are struggling with. The old premise of where the attention goes, the energy flows is very applicable here. When I’m doing couples work I typically recommend that the people in the relationship keep a daily list of at least five positive things about their partner(s).

Jenn Bovee is a Psychotherapist and life coach. She provides in office services as well as web based services. Learn more about her here:  www.JennBoveeLCSW.com