About this Journaling Series by Eric Maisel
Inspired by Contributors to The Great Book of Journaling
This series of guest blog posts on various topics related to journaling, was created for a series called “Journaling for Men” that appears on the Good Men Project blog. It is designed to help everyone, and especially men who may be unfamiliar with journaling, learn how daily journaling can help them improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It brings together ideas from two of Eric’s recent books, Redesign Your Mind, in which I describe how you can upgrade and redesign “the room that is your mind,” and our co-edited book The Great Book of Journaling, in which we gathered contributions from scores of journal experts and enthusiasts. Please enjoy this series.
We hope that you’ll begin to include journaling as part of your daily self-awareness and self-care program.
Try this 5-step method for Life Source Writing!
In her chapter in The Great Book of Journaling, Lynda Monk, co-editor of the volume, describes a valuable journaling practice she calls Life Source Writing. Lynda explained:
Life Source Writing is a process for using relaxed, spontaneous writing as a practice for self-awareness and personal well-being. Its 5-step method integrates the natural healing properties of expressive writing with mindfulness, relaxation, inquiry, and affirmation so as to deepen your journaling itself while also supporting you as the writer.
The five steps of Life Source Writing
Step 1: Arrive (mindfulness)
Arrive fully to the present moment and to your writing. Mindful presence in the here and now is fuel for both your creative self-expression and well-being. You can simply acknowledge to yourself “I am here now to write.” You can also set an intention for your journaling, for example, “I would like to gain clarity about my true priorities while I write today.” As Deepak Chopra said, years ago when I heard him speak at a conference, “Attention energizes, intention transforms.”
Step 2: Relax (mind/body connection)
Take a moment to connect with your breath before writing. Breath is the energy of life moving through you and it can support you to access your creative power. Breathe with awareness; even just a couple of slow intentional breaths can help to engage the relaxation response before you write. When we are relaxed, we are more able to tap into our creativity and authentic voice on the page. Or, as Laraine Herring, author of Writing Begins with the Breath: Embodying Your Authentic Voice, puts it: “Returning to the rise and fall of the breath, bringing a level of conscious awareness to a predominantly involuntary action, reigns in the scatter nature of our thoughts and grounds us in our bodies, squarely in the present moment where we must remain if we are to write deeply.”
Step 3: Write (expressive writing)
You have arrived fully to your writing, perhaps you have set a journaling intention, you are relaxed and have connected with your breath, your life source energy. This might have taken you a couple of minutes, or longer. Now, it is time to write. Simply go to the page and start writing. You might do a timed free writing or use a journaling prompt or guided exercise to get you started. Remember, you are writing for yourself. Do not censor your writing, nor worry about grammar, simply write, without judgment, whatever wants to be written or expressed.
Step 4: Reflect (inquiry, feedback loop)
After journaling, before stopping your writing time, you can pause and use further reflective prompts such as, “What I notice about what I wrote is … ” or “What I feel about what I wrote is … ” or “I can sense that … ” or “I now realize … ”, etc. It is often our curiosity or questions that bring us to the page in the first place. This reflective step wrapped around the other side of your writing can help you gain more insights, healing, and growth from your journaling practice.
Step 5: Affirm (gratitude practice)
Bringing completion to your journal writing time, in a brief yet purposeful way, can bring a sense of closure and positivity to your writing. You might say or think something quietly to yourself, such as “I am grateful for this time to reflect and write.” Bringing our gratitude to anything, including our journaling, anchors us into a positive and uplifting emotional state. It is the perfect way to end your journaling time and transition from your reflective time on the page out into the rest of your day or night.
Give this five-step process a try! It is simple, elegant, and valuable. See for yourself!
“Remember, you are writing for yourself. Do not censor your writing, nor worry about grammar, simply write, without judgment, whatever wants to be written or expressed.”
Get your copy of The Great Book of Journaling: How Journal Writing Can Support a Life of Wellness, Creativity, Meaning and Purpose
Discover many different journaling techniques, prompts, and activities that can support you to enrich your life and health with journaling.
About the Author: Eric Maisel
Eric Maisel is the author of 50+ books. He is a retired family therapist, active creativity coach, lead editor for the Ethics International Press Critical Psychology and Critical Psychiatry series, and featured blogger for Psychology Today, where his “Rethinking Mental Health” blog has received 3,000,000+ views.
You can learn more about Eric Maisel on his website read the original article on the Good Men Project blog.>>>
This blog article is inspired and informed by Lynda Monk’s chapter entitled The Reflective Journal in The Great Book of Journaling. Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC, is the Director of the International Association for Journal Writing (IAJW.org). She is the co-editor of Transformational Journaling for Coaches, Therapists, and Clients: A Complete Guide to the Benefits of Personal Writing (2021). She is co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journalling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection (2014). She is the author of an ebook, Life Source Writing: A Reflective Journaling Practice for Self-Discovery, Self-Care, Wellness and Creativity (2009). She regularly speaks and teaches about the healing and transformational power of writing.
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