Throughout the month of June we have been discussing the importance of Retreat and the benefits that it can have, either from travelling to take a retreat, or simply retreating to a space within your own home where you can essentially get away from your task list and responsibilities even if for only a short period of time.
Today I would like to incorporate the importance of keeping a journal. When you are journaling, you are zeroing in on yourself and creating a retreat-like environment wherever you are. It is a wonderful way to promote mindfulness.
Keeping a regular journal can help you reach your goals by registering them in your brain as "important" and tracking them makes you more accountable to yourself. The more details you include the easier it is for your brain to create a psychological roadmap, increasing the likelihood that your goal will be reached.
Journaling can be a guide to understanding your feelings because it prompts you to focus, helping you to process what you are going through without any external pressure... it's just your thoughts and the page. Free writing, such as the Morning Pages made popular in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, can be wonderful. You simply sit down with a pen and paper and start writing. Since there is no overthinking and it's all free form is can really help to free blockages and make self-discoveries.
Interestingly, there are some pretty incredible health benefits too. I came across a great article explaining how it isn't psychosomatic but very real. Regarding Expressive Writing, the article claims, "The most striking research on EW has been done with markers of physical health and biological changes... We know from multiple studies that there are enhancements in immune function, drops in blood pressure, improvements in sleep, and drops in other markers of stress." The author, Michael Grothaus, also has great tips in his article, such as choosing the right medium and a reasonable time limit, and not worrying about being Shakespeare or even editing. http://www.fastcompany.com/3041487/body-week/8-tips-to-more-effective-journaling-for-health.
We carefully crafted our journals and included several pages of positive, mindful writing prompts for those days where you need a little push. As a part of our Retreat promotion they are 20% off until June 30, 2016. https://tbds.org/product-category/reflection/journals/
Now it's time for me to get back to my journal... ;-)
With loving gratitude,
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