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Archive for May, 2012

Mari McCarthy

By Mari L. McCarthy

Do you know anyone who uses journaling to improve their physical health? Well, I do.

Whenever we talk about journaling, more often than not we talk about the practice of writing down our emotions and thoughts and reaping psychological benefits. However, we rarely stop to consider how keeping a daily pen to page Journal Writing Practice can help us work our way to physical wellness.

I started Journaling for purely physical reasons: to teach myself how to write with my left hand when I lost feeling and function on the right side of my body due to a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) flare-up. By using Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages method (3 pages of stream of consciousness handwriting first thing every morning), I   reconnected with and started creating an intimate long-term relationship with my body.

Though it may sound a bit bizarre, the best time to journal is when you’re not feeling well, when you’re sick or have recurring aches and pains. Next time, your back acts up or you come down with a flu bug, reach for your journal pages before you reach for prescription pills.

And try this: Sit down with your journal and have a dialogue with the disorder. Talk to your eczema, your lower back pain, your shingles, or your headache. Ask it questions and listen to its responses. As you write out the conversation, you open yourself to amazing discoveries about assumptions you subconsciously make and old irrational fears that continue to enslave you. The journaling process is a way to clean up your energy system by getting your thoughts, emotions, and underlying premises out on the paper, where you can see them and deal with them in a much more concrete way.

It’s quite easy to start a health journal. No special pens or fancy notebooks needed:

1. Have a daily conversation with your body through the pages of your journal. Ask it lots and lots of questions and write down its responses. Starting with your head and going down to your toes, check in with individual parts of your body. Identify any sensations as specifically as possible.

Now ask, what improvement would you like to see in your body’s health today?

If you could sum up what your body is trying to tell you right now in one sentence, what would it be?

2. Continue this conversation with your body every day for a week. Then read over your journal. On a fresh page, consider the following:

Are there physical patterns you notice in your conversations?

Are you consistently hearing the same message(s) from your body?

Are there emotional patterns to your conversations?

If you could sum up what your body has been saying to you over the past week in one sentence, what would that sentence be?

What improvement would you like to see in your body’s health in the upcoming week?

After a while, you will look back on your experience with great awe and respect, knowing that by getting up close and personal with your body, you have become your own primary care provider.

Being my own primary care provider, I’ve been off prescription drugs for over 8 years, over-the-counter drugs for over a year, and eat only fresh foods. When I visit my doctor for my yearly checkup, I bring my Journal with me.

And… I’ve recently resumed my Morning Pages routine, using my left and my right hand (though not at the same time yet) and I can now read my right-handed writing!

Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Therapy Specialist at http://www.createwritenow.com where you’ll find Journaling for the Health of It ™ inspiration, ideas, tips, and resources and The Personal Journal-WriteON! Blog. She conducts numerous self- discovery and self-improvement Journaling Challenges at http://www.createwritenow.com/journaling-center-calendar.

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