When many people think of journaling, their minds instantly go to a teenage girl writing in her diary about boy problems and fights with friends. It sounds like a juvenile idea and not something that an adult should be doing, but this could not be further from the truth. There is something that occurs when you put pen to paper and write out your thoughts that can’t really be accomplished any other way, and people of all ages, not just teenage girls, can benefit greatly from this act.
This is something that almost all of the greatest men and women of history knew and that is why if you go to a local bookstore you can find the journals of some of the most famous people throughout the ages. They understood that the meditative act of sitting down and writing out your thoughts would pay dividends that few other actions could. This notion was not lost on the founders of AA and that is why they incorporated a daily inventory, which is tantamount to a journal, into the 12 steps. They knew that the alcoholic or addict, possibly more so than others, could benefit from journaling as many alcoholics and addicts are a prey to racing thoughts that they can’t seem to slow down. Prayer and meditation help to untangle the web of thought that we can so often weave, but add journaling to this equation and you can get what the 12 and 12 book refers to as an unshakeable foundation for life.”
So what is it about the act of writing out your thoughts that produces such a healing effect? That is exactly what we are going to look at, and hopefully after reading through this, you will be convinced that incorporating some type of daily writing into your life will greatly benefit you and your sobriety.
How Does Journaling Help You Heal
As with many things in life, the idea that writing something out will help you heal doesn’t necessarily make sense on the surface. I mean what exactly is the difference between writing something and just talking it out? Surprisingly, there is a huge difference between these two actions and because of this, writing our thoughts out can help us to heal in ways that just talking about our problems cannot. Some of the ways that writing our thoughts out can help us to heal are:
Writing Slows Our Thoughts Down
We can think a lot faster than we can write and so the act of writing actually causes us to slow down our thoughts so that we can focus on the words we are writing. This is extremely helpful, especially when we are experiencing turbulent times, because it slows our thoughts down to a manageable level, allowing us to make sense of them.
Writing Privately Can Allow You To Be Honest
It is not always easy to be honest, especially with ourselves, but writing out our thoughts in a private setting can allow us to be candid and honest in a way that sharing with others may not let us. This, in turn, allows us to see what we wrote and it usually takes some of the power away from those thoughts.
Writing Can Bring Levity To A Situation
There have been many times when I wrote something down that had been kicking around in my head for a while. While it was trapped in my mind I thought it was so serious and terrible, but after writing it down on paper and looking at it I laughed to myself at how absurd it sounded. Looking at our thoughts on paper can often allow us to have a proper perspective on them that we cannot have when they are just intangible thoughts in our brain. This has many times allowed for me to move past something that had bothered me for a while.
Writing Allows You To Identify Patterns
This is probably the greatest healing effect that writing your thoughts out can have. If you write for a long enough period of time you will begin to notice patterns in thoughts and actions that you may not have noticed otherwise. This allows for a deeper understanding of the self and also allows for the changing of harmful patterns that cause us pain. Without the act of writing these things down over time, I do not know if they would ever be discovered.
Writing Allows Us To Be Present
Sometimes in life, it is very difficult to be in the here and the now. There may be anxieties about the future and guilt about the past all attempting to take you out of the moment. Writing is extremely helpful in breaking these thought patterns and bring you back the present. It is a form of meditation because the mind is so focused on the task at hand that all other anxieties and worries seem to melt away and you are left with only the present moment.
Writing Offers A Purging Of Unwanted Thoughts
Sometimes you just need to get something out. Whether that is a pervasive thought, anger, guilt, or sadness, it doesn’t matter, but it needs to come out. Writing offers an amazing medium for this to happen because you can write out exactly how you are feeling without hurting other people or yourself. The act of purging unwanted emotions and thoughts is extremely cathartic and can offer a healing that few other things can.
Healing From Your Drug or Alcohol Addiction
No matter where you’re at in the recovery process, writing out your thoughts and feelings can be extremely helpful. If you are sober then you’re sobriety will invariably benefit from implementing a daily inventory, but if you are not yet sober, writing down how you think and feel could be the catalyst for the change that is needed. If you are currently on the fence about whether or not you need to seek treatment for your addiction, call Elevations Health today, at 866-200-3224, and talk to one of our trained professionals about the treatment options available for you.