self doubt

Journaling For Self Discovery

33 Ways to Use Your Journal for Self-Discovery and Self-Expression

 

As a therapist, I often suggest to clients that they explore their feelings and thoughts by keeping a journal. Sometimes clients ask for a bit of direction with this process. Here are some journaling ideas if you're not sure where to start:

 

1.    Write down what happened today and how you felt about it.

   

2.    Write a letter to a person you are angry with. Say everything you are feeling and wish you had the nerve to say.

   

3.    Draw a picture of the person you wrote the letter to in #2.

   

4.    Make a list of all the things you are grateful for. List all the big things, all the small things, and everything in between that you can think of.

   

5.    Circle the three most important things on the list you made in #4. Write a paragraph for each, expressing your appreciation to the person who had the most influence over it. If possible, turn this into an actual letter and send it.

   

6.    Make a list of the things that you feel upset about right now. Write down as many as you can think of until you can't think of any more. Then choose the top five.

   

7.    For each of the top five things you identified in #6, list 10 things you can do to gain control of the situation. Circle the top three from each list.

   

8.    Make a timeline that represents your life. Fill it in with the most significant events that have shaped you: your early years, your teen years, and each decade that has followed. Draw pictures or icons next to the most important events. Use crayons or markers if you wish.

   

9.    Write a few pages about your feelings about the timeline.

   

10.    Describe how your life would be different if          had or had not happened.

    Here are some examples:

a.     If your parents had divorced

b.     If your parents had remained married

c.     If your parents had been married

d.     If your mother hadn't passed away

e.     If you hadn't moved to    

f.     If you had gone to college

g.     If you hadn't gone to college

h.     If you had gone to      College

i.     If you had never met        

j.     If you hadn't broken up with            

11.     Make a list of all the things you wish you could do before your life is over.

   

12.     Make a list of the things no one knows about you.

   

13.     Write about your junior year in high school.

   

14.     Write about what life was like before you became a parent.

   

15.     Write about what you wish you had known before you became a parent.

   

16.     Make a list of the things you still want to learn about being a parent.

   

17.     Describe what it was like when you first met your partner.

   

18.     Write about what you wish you had known about your partner before you married him/her.

   

19.     Write about what you wish your partner had known about you before (s)he married you.

   

20.     Write a letter to yourself as you were at age 10. Tell yourself:

a.     What your life is like now

b.     What you have learned since you were 10

c.     What you want him or her to know

d.     What you want him or her to beware of

e.     What you want him or her to enjoy every moment of

21.     Write a letter to your own parents. Tell them what your life is like now.

   

22.     Write a letter to someone from your childhood or adolescence who didn't appreciate you or who misunderstood you. Tell the person what you want them to know and how you feel about the lack of connection between you.

   

23.     Think of someone you never acknowledged for something important. Write that person a letter and acknowledge him or her.

   

24.     Think of someone who never acknowledged you for something important. Write them a letter and tell them what you want them to know.

   

25.     Make a list of five miracles you want to happen in the coming year. Write a paragraph or two describing each one and how your life will be better if it happens.

   

26.     For each of the five miracles, make a list of:

a.     Five barriers or forces that block or prevent it from happening

b.     Five positive influences, things that encourage or support its happening

c.     Five things you can do to reduce the barriers and strengthen the positive influences

 

27.     Write about the five things you most like to do.

   

28.     Write about the five things you most dislike doing.

   

29.     Make a list of five places you'd like to visit. Describe what you imagine them to be like.

   

30.     Write about three things you most regret doing or not doing. Describe what happened and how you feel about it.

   

31.     Write a letter to your children, even if they have not yet been born. Tell them what you want them to know about you.

   

32.     Write a letter to your grandchildren, even if they have not yet been born. Tell them what you want them to know about you.

   

33.     Write a letter to your descendants one hundred years from now. Describe what your life is like today.

   

34.     Add your own ideas here:

MANAGING STRESS IN YOUR LIFE & RELATIONSHIPS

Photo by RapidEye/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by RapidEye/iStock / Getty Images

Learn to Have Healthy Relationships

This subject could fill an entire book. In the limited space of this newsletter, let’s look at the key components of this stress-reducing strategy.

1.    Identify the sources of stress in your relationships. Write about them in a journal. Make a list of people who cause you stress and explore what the issues are.

2.    Resolve the underlying issues. For each of the situations identified in step 1, assess what needs to happen to resolve it. Make a list and design a plan to improve the situation.

3.    Learn skills to improve relationships. Relationship skills are learned. We are not born knowing how to get along well with others, and most of us learned only limited skills from our parents. Identify the skills you need to develop, and make a plan for yourself. You can learn these skills by reading books, taking classes, or working with a therapist.

4.    Avoid toxic people and situations. Some people have a toxic effect on you. If you can, limit the amount of time you spend with them. Look for opportunities to decline their invitations. When these people are family members, remind yourself that you don’t have to feel guilty about avoiding anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself. In work situations, look for ways to rearrange your schedule or your workspace to avoid interacting with such people.

5.    Seek out positive people and situations. This step is the reverse of the previous step. Look for opportunities to spend more time with people and in situations that make you feel good. Think about people who make you feel good about yourself and look for ways to increase time with them.

6.    Watch what you eat. Some substances amplify the stress response. These include:

·    Caffeine stimulates the release of stress hormones. This increases heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen to the heart. Ongoing exposure to caffeine can harm the tissue of the heart.

·    Refined sugar and processed flour are depleted of needed vitamins. In times of stress, certain vitamins help the body maintain the nervous and endocrine systems.

·    Too much salt can lead to excessive fluid retention. This can lead to nervous tension and higher blood pressure. Stress often adds to the problem by causing increased blood pressure.

·    Smoking not only causes disease and shortens life, it leads to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

·    Alcohol robs the body of nutrition that it might otherwise use for cell growth and repair. It also harms the liver and adds empty calories to the body.

During times of high stress, eat more complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole breads, cereals, and beans).

7.    Get moving. The human body was designed to be physically active. However, in most jobs today, people are sitting down most of the time. They hardly move at all except when it is time for coffee break or lunch. When faced with stressors, we respond with our minds, not our bodies. It is no wonder that many of us have a difficult time responding to stressful events.

Exercise is one of the simplest and most effective ways to respond to stress. Activity provides a natural release for the body during its fight-or-flight state of arousal. After exercising, the body returns to its normal state of equilibrium, and one feels relaxed and refreshed.

8.    Look for ways to let go of tension and anxiety. Meditation, hypnosis, and progressive relaxation are valuable ways to regenerate and refresh yourself. You can purchase meditation and relaxation audiotapes or record your own. This is especially important because your health and long life depend on minimizing stress and achieving a sense of balance and well-being.

 

101 Affirmations and Positive Suggestions: A Workbook Utilizing The Power of Journaling and Self-Hypnosis
by Dr. Elizabeth A Mahaney
Link: http://a.co/0SzD9hN

or

https://www.createspace.com/3402297

WHAT MAKES YOU PROCRASTINATE?

Photo by STILLFX/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by STILLFX/iStock / Getty Images

All of us procrastinate on occasion. For some people, it’s a chronic problem; for others, it’s only a problem in certain life areas. Procrastination is always frustrating because it results in wasted time, lost opportunities, disappointing work performance, and generally feeling bad about yourself.

When you procrastinate, you allow less important tasks to take up the time and space that should be devoted to more important things. You do things like hanging out with friends when you know that an important work project is due soon, or going shopping instead of doing your homework. It can also be evident in behavior such as talking about trivial things with your partner to avoid discussing important issues in your relationship.

Most people don’t have a problem finding time for things they want to do. But once they see a task as too difficult, painful, boring, or overwhelming, the procrastination behaviors begin. You are not alone if you have ever made any of the following excuses to yourself:

    1.    It’s too cold to exercise outside today. I’ll wait until tomorrow when it’s warmer.

    2.    I’ve got too many other things to do first.

    3.    I’ll do a better job when I can concentrate on this project.

    4.    I still have lots of time to get this done.

    5.    They don’t pay me enough to do a more complete job. This is good enough.

    6.    This problem is too hard to talk about. I wouldn’t know where to start.

    7.    I work better under pressure.

    8.    It’s too noisy to work while my teenager is at home.

    9.    I should get the shopping down now because the stores will be more crowded later.

    10.    I can eat this pie tonight, because I’m starting my diet tomorrow.

    11.    My tooth doesn’t really hurt that much. The pain will probably go away tomorrow.

Most of the time, these excuses seem fairly innocuous. However, they’re not as innocent as they seem, because they cause us to postpone important duties and projects. Ultimately, these excuses can keep us from accomplishing important goals and make us feel bad about ourselves.

Why People Procrastinate

If you were hoping for a simple answer to this puzzle, you will be disappointed to learn that there are many reasons why people put things off. Here are a few of the most common (check those that apply to you):

   Avoiding discomfort. Wanting to avoid pain makes lots of people shift into procrastination mode. However, the longer we delay, the worse the uncomfortable problem usually becomes. The rash gets bigger, the tooth hurts more, or the brakes squeak even more loudly.

   Perfectionism. Those who believe they must produce the perfect report may obsess about uncovering every last information source and then write draft after draft. Their search for the perfect product takes up so much time that they miss their deadline.

   Laziness. Sometimes people delay tasks that involve fairly slight inconvenience or minor discomfort.

    Thinking you’re not good enough. Some people are certain that they are incompetent. They think that they will fail, and procrastinate to avoid ever putting their skills to the test.

    Self-doubt. If you second-guess yourself, you probably suffer from procrastination. You may avoid new challenges and opportunities unless you are certain that you will succeed. Perhaps you make feeble attempts to begin a project, and you tell yourself that you could do a better job if you put in more effort.

   Workaholism. At the other end of the spectrum, many people who work excessively also fall into this category. They drive themselves ruthlessly, fearing that if they stop working, they will not be able to start again. Most self-doubters are driven by the belief that they must meet strict standards in order to see themselves as successful.

Physics Review

Remember the concept of inertia: a mass at rest tends to stay at rest.

For some reason, it is more difficult for most humans to start change than to keep it going.

Why Don’t We Just Say No?

Since procrastination produces mostly negative outcomes, why don’t we just change our behavior and eliminate these undesirable consequences? The reason for this is that procrastination reinforces itself. For some reason, it is more difficult for most humans to start change than to keep it going. We avoid getting started by cleverly diverting our attention from the things we really should be doing. We do something else instead or make up a story about how we will accomplish the task in the future-when we are inspired, or when we have completed a preliminary step, or some other trick.

Although recognizing how these diversions work won’t automatically cure your procrastination, being aware of it is a good place to start working on the problem. Once you are aware of the ways that you procrastinate, you can start to change your behavior. In my next newsletter, I’ll offer some tips to help you get started. Until then, begin the change process by thinking about which causes apply to you and writing down examples of these behaviors as you observe them.