Journaling To Grow and Heal
Journaling helps us reflect, grow, and heal. In her chapter for The Great Book of Journaling, Sandra Marinella describes how she benefits from her lifelong journaling process. Sandra explained:
Journals have been with us for as far back as we can trace writing. Humans have used them for release, catharsis, problem solving, healing, personal growth and ultimately personal transformation.
As a young high school teacher, I embraced journaling not only for my personal use, but I began using journaling every day in all five of my high school classrooms. I started each class with five or possibly ten minutes devoted to exploring a thought, an idea, or a reading. The experience helped transform my teaching into Socratic dialogue, and it helped my students become reflective, careful thinkers and participants in meaningful discussion. Our journaling and discussions helped us learn and grow each day.
Journaling Through Illness
In 2012 when I made the journey through my own breast cancer as well as my son’s difficult cancer, I wrote copious notes in my journal. As I recovered from a double mastectomy, I was struck by how journaling works. In my cancer journal, I scrawled, “Our words create us. Our stories create us. Our journal writing can recreate us.”
I began digging through closets and unearthed twenty-seven journals. I am not a prolific journal writer, but the journals I had kept since age nine held powerful insights. I left full-time teaching and committed myself to researching and writing about the gifts writing can give to us–especially if we learn to understand and use our journals intentionally for personal growth.
Journaling To Process Life and It’s Transitions
From my stack of old journals, I realized that I used journaling for documenting my existence as a child. For discovering my voice as a teen. For catharsis when I fell in or out of love. But I also learned as I grew into adulthood that I used journaling to help work my way out of an idea stuck in my head, a rumination. Once I began to recognize this pattern in myself, I began to consciously change that pattern and approach a rumination as a problem to be solved. Journal writing became a great tool for this. As I have aged, I have come to see my journal writing as largely for reflection and personal growth.
How will you use your journal? And how will you benefit from it? The benefits are waiting!