Monday, June 06, 2016

Mental Health Series - Mental Illness a 365 Day Issue

Throughout the year we have various days or weeks, even a month set aside for a reminder to be aware of mental health, or other more significant issue. I'd like to make it known that manic episodes, depression, meltdowns, panic attacks, emotional upheaval, and suicide don't follow the calendar. January is Mental Wellness month, February uses a week for National Eating Disorders Awareness week, March has a National Sleep Awareness week, March is Self Harm Awareness month, April celebrates a World Health Day, April is Stress Awareness month, May celebrates a National Children's Mental Health Day, May also identifies a week for National Anxiety and Depression, May also celebrates a week for National Prevention Week by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA), May is Mental Health month, June is PTSD Awareness month, as well as designating one day for National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness, July is National Minority Mental Health month, September sets aside a day for a World Suicide Prevention day and a National Psychotherapy day, then later in September we celebrate a whole week for National Suicide Prevention. September is full of more special days: Recovery Month SAMHSA, Self-Awareness Month, Self-Improvement Month, October has a National Depression Screening day and a World Mental Health day and even a Mental Illness Awareness week, November has an International Survivors of Suicide day and Mental Health Wellness week. Let's keep these awareness days and weeks going, but also remember, Mental Illness is not something you can cubbyhole into a day, week, or month. It's a 365 day issue and must be address as such. Please help those whose voices cannot be heard.

I've created a Brave Page to show my support and advocacy for more Mental Illness recognition. Every purchase sends $10.00 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

If you would like to help with this cause, either by sharing this blog, the Brave Page link, or purchasing an item, that would be great. 

If you want to share your story, I'm always here to listen. There are so many untold stories out there. Yours may be one of them. There is no judgement here. There is no condensation. There is no pointing fingers or responses like, "just get over it" or "you don't look sick". Don't those responses make you just want to run away and hide? I know they do for me. Here is your opportunity to share your story, maybe for the first time, in an environment that is supportive and caring.



A dear friend sent me a prayer when I was having some really emotional episodes. It's not a long prayer, but it's very powerful. Read the words. Take then to heart. If you have a journal, copy this pray in it. I did. It's a wonderful reminder of the love and support of others.

"Lord, I thank You that You love and care about me enough to know me well.  You know all about me, and You still love me.  God, I pray I would sense Your amazing love especially when I don't feel known or loved by others.  Whenever I am in a place where I know no one, help me to sense Your love and connection to me in a deeper way than ever."

Have a blessed day.

Vicki



Thursday, June 02, 2016

Mental Health Series - PTSD Awareness Month

It is June/2016. June is PTSD Awareness Month. I recently wrote a PTSD post about my recent triggers and how I coped. Mental Health Series - PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) It garnered a tremendous amount of blog views and comments.

How am I after the hospitalization and treatment? Still fragile. But, out of the hospital and home where I'd much rather be. The reason I ended up in the hospital was because I didn't listen to the warning signs my body and mind were sending as well as the "I can handle this" attitude.

I really couldn't.

After a week of hospitalization, I went to a therapist who treated me with EMDR. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing treatment. It took many sessions. I still have to have a "boost" every once in a while.

Most recently, I was in IKEA with my husband on a marathon shopping trip. We had brought some items back from a previous trip for credit. My husband handed me the credit slip and the receipts and told me to hang on to them until it's time to pay. So, what do I do? I put them in my back pocket. Where I kept my phone and my notes. I was constantly in and out of that pocket.

You know what happened next, right?

Right. I lost the credit slip. I burst into tears, sobbing uncontrollably, and told my husband what happened. Of course, he wasn't happy. I told him I'd retrace my steps and hopefully find it or an IKEA employee who could help me.

I searched everywhere, even under displays thinking it may have been kicked out of the main traffic areas. Finally, I found two IKEA employees, who thankfully understood what I was trying to tell them through tears and sobs. Their answer was that if no one had used it yet to pay for their purchases, we could go back to the Return section and show them our receipts, they'd find us in the computer and provide us with another credit slip.

I hurried back to my husband, told him what the IKEA employees told me, and he said after we finished our shopping, I would go to the check-out with the basket items and he'd go to Returns and hopefully get another credit slip.

It worked. He was able to get another credit slip. We paid for our purchases, then went into the warehouse section and found all the items we needed and then went through the checkout again to pay for those items.

All in all, it was an extremely emotional and physically exhausting day. We were in IKEA for OVER 4 hours. That's a long time.

But, BAM! PTSD Trigger, BIG TIME!



The PTSD trigger for me, was this: about 35 years ago, in my first marriage, my husband gave me a large sum of cash to hang onto while we went grocery shopping. The money was for our rent that month. Somehow, between the time I put the money in my back pocket and the time my husband asked for it back, it had disappeared. I was devastated. My first husband was furious! I endured his wrath heaped upon my head with harsh, mean, hateful words. I had no defense. I had lost our rent money.

Those memories flooded back from behind my mind's closed doors and the emotions washed over me again. Once again, it was my fault. I was careless. I was to blame.

This time, my husband was more cognizant of what I was going through. I was open with him that I was experiencing PTSD and why, by explaining to him what happened in the past with my first husband. He helped me talk through the pain, helped me see it was one of those things that just happen, and I really wasn't to blame. After we arrived home, he continued helping me every time another PTSD wave would engulf me, holding me and managing to keep my head above water.


I was also able to talk to my therapist about the situation and he too, used his tools to help me through the trauma.

As you can see, PTSD triggers can happen in a variety of ways. You never know if someone is going to say something, you see something on television, hear it on the radio, see it in the newspaper, or even a sound causes your mind to flash back to another time, another trauma, another emotion.



But, don't forget, PTSD triggers and reactions are real. They are real to you, to me, and to anyone else. Our support team and our loved ones should also learn to understand that those emotions and traumas are real, as well.

Here is a list of websites that can provide more information about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

If you know of others, please add them in the comments.

Wellness Recovery resources

US Dept of Veteran Affairs - PTSD

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

HelpGuide.org PTSD

National Alliance on Mental Illness - PTSD

PsychCentral - PTSD

Mental Health America

PTSD Alliance

As for me, I'm going to take a little advice from one of my favorite animals: the frog









Have a blessed day.

Vicki M. Taylor


Friday, May 20, 2016

Mental Health Series - Using a Coping Box

I don't like using medication like an anti-anxiety pill to help me through an upsetting episode like an anxiety attack, panic attack, depression cycle, or even a manic episode. Sometimes, I'd much rather find other ways to cope. So, through trial and error, I've come up with a solution. I call it my "Coping Box" and I've filled it with items that are specific to me that will help keep me calm, distracted, and hopeful.

If you think hard about your episodes and what you can do for your own personal mental health, you might find that there are some similar items you could put in your Coping Box.

I used a 32 quart storage container for my box. And, for fun, I put sticky letters on the outside, spelling "Coping Box" to give it some legitimacy.








Then, I thought about what would comfort me and help distract me during any type of episode.








I like to read magazines about gardens, landscaping, household tips, storage space, and the like, so I included some magazines. You can always rotate out any you've read and put in others that you'd like to read.














So, here is a list of what is in my Coping Box.


  1. Magazines
  2. Word Search or other Word Puzzle Books
  3. Journal
  4. Bible
  5. Inspirational Books
  6. Bubbles
  7. Snacks
  8. Stress Ball
  9. Tissues
  10. Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)
  11. Pens, Pencils, Highlighters, Sticky Notes
  12. Bookmarks
  13. Coloring Books
  14. Devotional Books
  15. Crayons
  16. Colored Pencils
  17. Affirmations
  18. "Taming Your Gremlin" by Rick Carson
  19. A distracting fiction book



This is the progression of adding each of the items.


 I chose a couple of different Word Puzzle books. I like the Word Search Puzzles best.
 I put in a journal that I usually take to the hospital if I'm hospitalized for any length of time due to a major episode. It helps me keep track of my thoughts during the episode, the treatment, and after.
This is the Bible I chose, because it's a Study Bible. I enjoy doing research and learning more than just the scriptures.
 I threw in a variety of inspirational, devotional, and helpful books that will encourage me and distract me.
You have to make your fun any way you can, and for me, the most basic way is by blowing bubbles. You can't be sad and crying if you're blowing bubbles, right?
 I put in some snack bars. You can choose anything that is your favorite and won't make a mess in the box.
A stress ball is a must for helping alleviate your physical reactions by channeling all your energy into squeezing the heck out of this little ball.
Yes, I know, at some point or another, crying is going to happen. That's why I put in a fresh pack of tissues.

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan was introduced to me through an Internet search and happening upon Mary Ellen Copeland's website.

According to the WRAP website,

"The Wellness Recovery Action Plan® or WRAP®, is a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be. It was developed in 1997 by a group of people who were searching for ways to overcome their own mental health issues and move on to fulfilling their life dreams and goals.  It is now used extensively by people in all kinds of circumstances, and by health care and mental health systems all over the world to address all kinds of physical, mental health and life issues.
WRAP has been studied extensively in rigorous research projects and is listed in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices."
I am a firm believer in the WRAP program. I've been using it since 2008. You must realize it's a living document. I review my WRAP after every hospitalization and during major episodes. As people come in and out of my life, or doctors and therapists, I make changes as well.
Now that you've seen how I've created my "Coping Box", I'd like to see what you come up with when creating yours. Let me know by e-mail or in the comments section.



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mental Health Series - Celebrating Mental Health Month with Ways to Stay Healthy

Every year I write a blog post advocating Mental Health Month. This year, including my advocacy, I'm going to give you some information about the mental health benefits of eating yogurt and provide you with tips from Chobani.

I've honestly never eaten Chobani yogurt before recently, and wanted to help spread the news about the benefits of eating yogurt. I also did some research on the Mental Health benefits of yogurt and I was surprised by the amount of positive results. Why don't you check out Chobani's products for more health snack options that can benefit your mental health as well.

After sampling a few of the different Chobani yogurts, I'm hooked. They're smooth, not bitter, don't have that "yogurt aftertaste", and are the perfect portion for an addition to your breakfast or as a snack any time of the day.



Starting with EmaxHealth, In a report published by BioEssays, researchers explain that probiotics play a role in producing, absorbing, and transporting neurochemicals (ie: serotonin, dopamine and nerve growth factor) which are essential for healthy brain and nerve function. Therefore, improving probiotic microflora in the intestines may be an important key to treating mental health conditions.


May, 2016 is the 67th year Mental Health America has observed Mental Health Month. They use many resources to spread the news and help others learn about helping themselves and others. They've created a calendar for the month helping you discover new ways to care for your mental health.

This year, their theme is - Life with a Mental Illness.  They're asking How does it feel to live with a mental illness? That (#mentalillnessfeelslike) is what we’re focusing on during Mental Health Month in 2016. 




If you're a new reader, or long time reader of my blog, Living Stone Faith, you'll find I've written many posts about my experiences living with Bipolar, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, PTSD, OCD, and the various treatments, such as ECT.

What I'd like to know from you, is: How Does It Feel To Live With A Mental Illness?

Go ahead and post in the comments below or if you don't want to share publicly, you can always contact me via e-mail at vmtwriter@vickmtaylor.com

I try to provide you, my readers, with the latest information from other mental health sites and allow guest posts of others' experiences. 

I did more research about the mental health benefits of yogurt and here are the results:

From Medical Daily:

According to a 2013 study that investigated the link between intestinal bacteria and mental health, not much is known about the ways that the gastrointestinal tract influences mood and behavioral disorders. The authors note that there was scientific interest in this link in the early 20th century, but there hasn't been much research until recently. One of those recent studies examined this link and found that people who took probiotics experienced lower levels of anxiety and depression, and had lower levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — in their saliva when they woke up in the morning.

For more Scientific information, I went to Scientific American. All I can say is, WOW. They aren't called "scientific" for nothing. They go into the scientific background and give amazingly complicated formulas and results. Please read them for yourself.

Dr. Mercola raises some interesting points and shows positive results of using Yogurt to help maintain a better mental health.

Here is only one of the tests/results he cited. Please visit his page for more in-depth details.


The featured proof-of-concept study, conducted by researchers at UCLA, found that probiotics (beneficial bacteria) actually altered participants' brain function. The study2 enlisted 36 women between the ages of 18 and 55 who were divided into three groups: 
  • The treatment group ate yogurt containing several probiotics thought to have a beneficial impact on intestinal health, twice a day for one month
  • Another group ate a "sham" product that looked and tasted like the yogurt but contained no probiotics
  • Control group ate no product at all
Before and after the four-week study, participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, both while in a state of rest, and in response to an "emotion-recognition task." 
For the latter, the women were shown a series of pictures of people with angry or frightened faces, which they had to match to other faces showing the same emotions. 
"This task, designed to measure the engagement of affective and cognitive brain regions in response to a visual stimulus, was chosen because previous research in animals had linked changes in gut flora to changes in affective behaviors," the researchers explained.
Compared to the controls, the women who consumed probiotic yogurt had decreased activity in two brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation:
  • The insular cortex (insula), which plays a role in functions typically linked to emotion (including perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal experience) and the regulation of your body's homeostasis, and
  • The somatosensory cortex, which plays a role in your body's ability to interpret a wide variety of sensations 
During the resting brain scan, the treatment group also showed greater connectivity between a region known as the 'periaqueductal grey' and areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with cognition. In contrast, the control group showed greater connectivity of the periaqueductal grey to emotion- and sensation-related regions. 
The fact that this study showed any improvement at all is remarkable, considering they used commercial yogurt preparations that are notoriously unhealthy; loaded with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavorings, and sugar. Most importantly, the vast majority of commercial yogurts have clinically insignificant levels of beneficial bacteria. Clearly, you would be far better off making your own yogurt from raw milk—especially if you're seeking to address depression through dietary interventions. 

 It's awesome to discover new ways to help us maintain mental health that doesn't include drugs or other more intensive treatments like, ECT.

Best of all, I found an independent blog about Chobani yogurt written by Trans Girl at the Cross, who gives a THUMBS UP, for Chobani and it's health benefits.

NewsMax points out FOUR Psychiatric benefits of eating yogurt. 

1. A French study in 2011 found that subjects who took probiotics for 30 days had reduced levels of 

2. Anxiety and depression may be relieved through probiotics, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician and alternative medicine advocate. He reports that altered brain function from probiotics was revealed in a four-week study by researchers at UCLA. 

Women in the study who ate yogurt had decreased activity in regions of the brain that control the processing of emotion and sensation when compared with control groups following magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans. The scans were taken after they were shown images of frightened or angry faces.

3. Improved memory was found in men who took a daily capsule of probiotics for a month, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University College Cork in Ireland. The study also found the men reported less stress and anxiety, The Guardian reported

The men’s stress levels and memories were tested when taking the probiotic capsules for a month and also when they took placebo for a month. Improvements in stress levels and memory were seen when taking the probiotics, according to Ted Dinan, the head of psychiatry at the college who led the study.

“When they were given these bacteria (probiotics) they were less anxious and their capacity to memorize material seemed to be enhanced,” Dinan told The Guardian.

4. Social anxiety may be relieved through probiotic-rich foods according to findings from a study of more than 700 students at the College of William and Mary, reported nutritionist and registered dietitian Cynthia Sass at Health.com

From Mental Health America, they give you tips on how to help celebrate and spread the news.



How Can You Participate?

As for me, I hope that I've been able to give you a unique perspective this year on Mental Health Month and new ways to help you be healthy.

Have a blessed day.

Vicki M Taylor


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Heads Up - Literally!

I've been having dizzy spells for about five months. It got so bad at one point, I passed out while walking on a sidewalk, woke to my husband leaning over me asking what happened. How was I supposed to know?

He took me to the ER, they did a head CT, X-rays, and a multitude of other tests. I was sent to see other doctors and specialists, even a cardiologist, but no one could come up with an answer.

Most of the time, I'd get dizzy spells at random times, then when I'd bend over, or when I rolled onto my right side in bed. The dizzy spells were coming on more often. My head would get all confused and my eyes couldn't focus, and the room would spin around.

Finally, I went to see my ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) specialist yesterday because of hearing issues. While I was there I talked to him about my dizzy issues. I was given a hearing test and then another test where I had to sit up, with my legs straight out, then the doctor would turn my head to the right and lay me backwards.

EVERY TIME he did this, the room would spin and I'd have an awful dizzy spell. He confirmed it with a couple more tests.

FINALLY! Someone knew what was happening and had a treatment program.

The diagnosis was BPPV: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.

The definition: Caused by loose particles (canaliths) in the balance portion of the inner ear which may have migrated to an area in which they are not normally found.

The treatment: It takes nine days to do this procedure. The first 48 hours keep your head completely vertical. Wear a soft cervical collar to ensure limited movement of the neck. For the first two nights sleep on your back at a 45 degree angle. (Good thing I have a Sleep Number bed!)

For the next seven nights, I'm not allowed to sleep on my right side. I can sleep on my back or my left side.

During those final seven days, I must avoid any upward or downward head movements and only move my head and  body as a unit without any excessive turning of the neck. This is where the neck brace really helps.

Supposedly, after the nine day treatment, the dizziness should disappear, the canaliths should have moved back to their normal position, and I can go back to my normal routine.

I had NEVER heard of this before. But, after telling others, many, many people have responded with their own stories or of someone they knew. Some people were treated with medication but my doctor chose to treat me with this non-medication procedure as he thought it would work better.

Did you know?

BPPV may be made worse by any number of modifiers which may vary between individuals:
An episode of BPPV may be triggered by dehydration, such as that caused by diarrhea. For this reason, it commonly occurs in post-operative patients who have diarrhea induced by post-operative antibiotics.
BPPV is one of the most common vestibular disorders in patients presenting with dizziness; migraine is implicated in idiopathic cases. Proposed mechanisms linking the two are genetic factors and vascular damage to the labyrinth.

John Hopkins Medicine has this to say about BPPV.

It's supposed to be one the most common types of vertigo:
More than 200,000 US cases per year
Treatable by a medical professional
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging rarely required
Short-term: resolves within days to weeks
So, I'm going to give this treatment a try, and we'll see how it works out in nine days. Last night was horrible. I couldn't fall asleep on my back. I was up just staring at the ceiling most of the night. Good thing I had my iPhone close by, and could distract myself with games.
If you've ever heard of BPPV, or know someone who has, I'd be interested in your stories.
Have a blessed day.
Vicki

 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Mental Health Series - Journal Therapy

Journal Therapy.

What comes to mind when you think of Journal Therapy?

Writing thoughts?

Personal information, private, don't share?

Coloring Books?

Drawing?

Painting?

Images of some sort?

Phrases, words, pictures?

All of the above, actually.

I have always kept a journal. Even as a child. Many of my earlier journals were destroyed when my parents moved while I was in Marine Corps bootcamp. They moved to a different house while I was away and when I returned, I had nothing of my own possessions left, from my school yearbooks, personal journals, pictures, my first teddy bear, to even my own room. My most sacred possession, my baptism bible and my cedar chest were gone, given to a younger sibling to use as a toy chest. It hurt.

Seriously hurt.

I didn't journal for a long time. Then I started journaling again during my first marriage. Not realizing how paranoid and freaked out my first husband would get when he found out I was journaling, I should have kept them hidden better. Unfortunately, I didn't. He found them, read them, then burned them. 

Again, I was immensely devastated. How could I ever trust anyone again? How could I ever put my personal feelings and thoughts to paper and expect them to be respected?

It wasn't until I got my first personal computer that I started journaling again. This time, I kept my journal on my computer under a secured password. But, it just wasn't the same.

I like writing by hand when I put my personal thoughts in journal format. And, I needed paper journals, not electronic ones.

So, eventually, I moved from the computer journal to individual journal books. At today's count, there are several very large rubbermaid tubs filled with journals. 

t was hesitant at first to try anything but dry mediums so I attempted the Sharpie markers first. And then moved on to colored pens, and finally colored pencils. I must admit, the colored pencils background is my favorite background. It brings out a subtleness that soothes me. 

I wish all my pages were like that. I could take the time and create them if I wanted, no one is stopping me and I have a permission to create, right? 

My last dry medium was doodling with crayons and that was just too much fun for anyone. I had a blast. Putting a lot of pressure on the paper, I got a darker result, backing off on the pressure, produced a lighter color. I was very enthusiastic about creating that background and would have done more, but had to reign myself in.

Finally, I moved on to watercolors. I tried using a sponge the first time, wanted to make a mottled effect. Which kinda worked as soon as I figured out the ratio of water to color. I used purple, which is one of my favorite colors. I moved on to my next favorite color, pink, and chose a brush for the next page and next technique. I noticed a much different stroke with the brush. I went over the page several times. Lightly at first, then with bolder strokes; the color getting pinker and darker as I covered the page. However, as most everyone else noticed, as the pages dried, the edges curled.

After the watercolor pages dried, I noticed the lines from the journal nearly disappeared, which was freeing in a way, it gave me a new found freedom to write anywhere on the page in whatever format I wanted. 

Which I did. 

The page was softer, more receptive to the pen. On those pages that were not receptive to the pen, like the crayon doodle, I used stickers and such and created a collage of flowers and letters to create words that stimulated me. 

Like “Dream” “hope”, “Inspire”,  “believe”, “faith”, and “joy”. “Dream” is a word that I have all over my office in various formats.


I do like the dryer mediums better, only because I’m not as comfortable with the wetter mediums, which will have to come with practice.  

I wouldn’t rule anything out. I learned that if I gag the critic inside of me, I can be creative. If I gag and lock the critic in the closet and I can have fun being creative in a journal that I thought was only for words!

I now have several journals. Each with their own purpose. I have my general journal, which is my "go to" writing source for anything that is going on in my life.

I have a visual journal which I use to paste words, phrases, pictures cut from magazines, images and stickers from collections from arts and craft stores like Michaels. This is a fun and very relaxing way to keep your mind occupied and help reduce your stress and anxiety. I know it works for me.

I also have a prayer journal. This is a very important journal to me. I use it to write in prayers to God, asking Him for His guidance, support, help, comfort, and to to the same for those I know who are in need.

Then, I have this really unique journal I found in the clearance section at our local Super Target. It's titled, The Chuck it List - 1000 Things I'll NEVER do before I Die.


Did you know about the benefits of Journaling? 

Benefits of Journaling

Medical studies show that writing about trauma or emotions helps people experience happiness, or an increase in health and productivity.
 
James Pennebaker, discovered that people who use writing to make sense of their traumatic life experiences feel happier and less anxious.  Through his studies, Pennebaker found that those who made meaning out of their gained insight from writing were healthier than those who simply wrote the details of their day.

Simply put: Words Heal. Founder and President of WRITECOVERY, Inc, Vicki M Taylor says, writing is a powerful tool for individuals who are struggling with the healing process.” She went on to say, “Words heal. Once you get the story out on paper, it’s out of your mind and you can move on.”

“Writing is a process,” says Stephen King. Although he meant it for fiction writing, he was never more right when it comes to journal writing. Writing is a process.  It helps us understand what’s going on inside of us. It helps us sort out the emotions building up inside of us that threaten to blow. We have thoughts racing around in our mind, what do we do? We get out our journal and we write. And write. And write until the thoughts no longer run through our mind but race along the pages of our journal.

Journaling can have an overall healing affect on those with physical and mental illnesses. Doctors see it all the time. The patient uses the journal to track their illness, their symptoms, their thoughts and feelings about what they’re experiencing. Before long, they’re writing about how they’re coping, dreaming about what they’re going to do when they get well, and thinking about ways to help themselves improve their health.


 If you desire, you can share your journal with your physician or mental health professional if you feel it might help your case. If not, don’t. It’s yours. It’s private. Don’t be pressured into exposing your private thoughts.

If you’ve never written in a journal before, it’s very easy. You don’t need a fancy journal or pen to start. A 3-ring binder, pen, pencil or even an online Microsoft Word or Text document is just fine to start.

Here is a simple start to journaling. Try writing first, then move on to more imaginative journals, like visual journaling, gratitude journaling, or even prayer journals.

Wait for a time when you have about   20 – 30 minutes of uninterrupted space.
·      
  •         Indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t matter.
  • ·      Get comfortable.
  • ·      Have a beverage close by.
  • ·      You might want to start a ritual. Light a candle. Some Incense. Turn on soft music.


Open to a blank page. Identify the date. Some people like to identify the location as well. Then take a deep breath. Reach for your pen, set it to paper, and let your mind free.

Journaling is a liberating experience. Journaling is a healing experience. You’ll find that you’ll live a healthier, more spiritual, and less negative life. Joy will replace passivity. You’ll gain a new perspective, change your negative thought patterns, and find a way to let your inner critic out onto the pages of your journal instead of running around in your head wreaking havoc.

What are you going to write about?

You are going to write about anything and everything. It’s your journal. It’s your private thoughts. It’s a “judge free” zone. It can be a laundry list. It can be a bucket list. It can be a letter to the neighbor down the street who always leaves their trashcans in the middle of the street.

My point is this: Whatever pops into your mind, can pop onto the pages of your journal.

Try it for a week. See how refreshing and freeing it becomes. Don’t try the whole 20-30 minutes at once. Try for a little five minute practice and see how it works for you. Then, try it again. And again.

I bet before long, you’ll have thoughts in your mind and you’ll be longing to reaching for your journal to get them out of your head.

My suggestion to you is start carrying your journal around with you during the day, so you can slip away for a few minutes to write a sentence or two.

You know you’re going to want to. It’s going to feel that good.


 WRITECOVERY - Words Heal
Words Heal.