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Journal Writing Your Wrong Ways

A profoundly helpful application of journal writing is to use it as a tool for reflection on your life experience.

Do you remember your childhood? Have you ever made a serious attempt to remember it and work through some of the harmful habits and fears it created in you? Many of us stay so preoccupied with adult challenges that we never do this kind of life-reflection.

The problem with avoiding this 'work' is that our childhood experiences can leave us with impressions and phobias that interfere with our current happiness. Since these mental and emotional constructs were created so long ago, we may very well have no awareness of them.

That's why journals were created: to help clear out the clutter we've accumulated so we can get into living life as the person that we were born to be. You can use your journal to dig beneath all the clutter and glimpse your natural self, as you were before all the conditioning. When you begin to get a picture of your core self, you can better understand your purposes in life.

People tend to unknowingly cultivate a vicious inner critic, that spews out an ongoing tirade of self-blame, self-criticism, and worse. We tend to abuse our selves mercilessly with the scorn of this inner tyrant. Its power increases over years, until, if we're lucky, we suddenly realize we have to change for our health or happiness or both.

When it's time at last to get a grip on your inner critic, let your journal be your guide.

The act of writing puts a powerful brake on the torment of endlessly repeating troubled thoughts, that inner self-doubt to which everyone is prone. When you journal, it's as if the trap door of a mental treadmill has been opened to allow persecutory thoughts to escape.

After the initial rush of free writing, try journaling your memories of childhood, whether they be clear or vague. Spend a little time each day with your When I Was a Child ¦ journal. Ten minutes will be enough, but of course you may want to devote an hour. Just be faithful to the practice for a month or more, reading back over your entries now and then.

When you're ready, ask your journal what the reflections on your past have given you. How have your ideas and perceptions changed since you started the practice?

Though the change can be intense, more likely it will be a subtle feeling, a sensation that is not easy to identify or describe. Journaling is a lifestyle; it's an everyday thing, and its effects accumulate over many years. Just as the negative effects of past experiences can build up resistances, the positive effects of journal writing build up strength.