Originally from Northern Ireland but now living in Ayrshire, Caroline Johnstone has primarily worked in HR and management and over the last twelve years, has used her skills in the coaching and transformation of staff. Caroline was introduced to journaling in 2006 as a way to see what the good things in her life were and to regain some positivity after some work related issues had led to her questioning what she should do with her life. She found that journaling allowed her to access and deal with her emotions and to move from a place of limitation and fear to a positive outlook.
But what exactly is journaling and how can it help in dealing with stress and help build resilience? Some people think journaling is the same as writing a diary but this is most definitely not the case. Journaling is a mindfulness and reflectiveness tool that can be used to help slow down a busy life and work in the everyday for everyone. It has been found to be helpful when dealing with physical and mental health, chronic health conditions, lung and heart function, ME/chronic fatigue, asthma and can also be useful for sufferers of trauma.
By slowing you down, journaling helps you to see what things aren’t useful in your life. You can see what habits you’ve developed and the language you use. By getting your thoughts and emotions out of your head and onto paper, they can become easier to address. Many people say they wouldn’t have time for journaling but if you haven’t got the time then you are too busy and journaling can help you find out exactly why you’re busy!
There are few rules about journaling, you just start writing and write down what you want. You need to be honest with yourself so what you put down is really what you think and feel. If you’re upset write about what has upset you, just get into a space and let your unconscious mind take over. Alternatively, if you think you you’d prefer more structure to your journaling you could try to reflect on a day or ask yourself questions – How was the day? What could be better? How do you feel about it?
You can use an online, auditory or physical journal but there is scientific evidence that a physical version is better one reason being that it can be much easier sometimes to use pictures or diagrams to capture your thoughts and ideas. You might find it motivational to buy a really nice notebook but a simple memo pad serves exactly the same purpose. There are simply no rules. You can use different journals for different things but maybe initially it’s easier to just have one journal. You don’t need to journal on a daily basis. You can start in a small way and just journal a few times a week but make sure that you’re upset about something you go off and get your thoughts down. Journaling is a mirror, a way to express yourself in the moment. The main thing is to get into the habit of writing. You can set a time, light some candles, play some music and focus on your thoughts!
As well as her passion for journaling, Caroline is an NLP Master Practitioner, coach and poet and has been published in the UK, Ireland and the U.S. Her book ‘Dare to be Happier’ is available through Amazon and she is currently working on a series of seven books with the ultimate aim to help people to be happier. You can find out more about Caroline on her website at www.daretobehappier.com or contact her at email@example.com