In my last post I recommended using stream of consciousness journaling as a tool for liberating yourself from your fears, doubts and negative self-talk.
Unlike the traditional art of diarising a day-by-day account of the events and experiences that occur in your life, stream of consciousness journaling is a free-form outlet for venting your feelings and processing difficult experiences.
The technique involves taking a piece of paper and a pen, and writing down anything that comes to mind, no holds barred, as quickly as you can. Speed is of the essence as it is one of the best ways to begin to recognise your merciless inner critic. By getting everything out and onto the page, without stopping to censor yourself, you’ll begin to discover what you are really thinking and feeling.
Think in new and creative ways
Longhand writing helps to turn down the volume of the logical mind and open up your creativity and intuition. When we engage both hemispheres of the brain, which is known as whole brain thinking, our perception of reality shifts and we begin to think in new and creative ways.
What you write is not meant to sound intelligent. Nobody is meant to read what you have written. If you’re concerned that someone will, I recommend you burn the page; tear it up and throw it in water; or put it through shredding device. Whatever feels right.
The point of this exercise is to capture your stream of consciousness – your thoughts, feelings and ideas. On the page I complain, swear and whine about my worries, concerns, dissatisfactions and fears. I also pour out my deepest longings, hopes and dreams. I write as if I’m speaking to a most trusted friend. One who I can share all my secrets with. One who would never betray or judge me.
The author of The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron, recommends practicing what she calls Morning Pages – three pages of longhand writing, the moment you wake up. For me, stream of consciousness journaling is a therapeutic process I use throughout the day whenever something is bothering me, no matter how large or small. It helps to quieten my mind.
Vent without self-destruction, dream without restriction
According to Julia Cameron, stream of consciousness journaling allows us to: vent without self-destruction, plan without interference, complain without an audience, dream without restriction, know our own minds.
I’ve found that by putting my thoughts, desires and problems down on paper, without looking for a solution, stops them from circling around and around in my mind. Doing so, allows me to think more clearly and become present in the moment.
Stream of consciousness journaling has also proven to be a valuable tool for helping me to fully express myself, even if It’s just to myself at first. I’ve found that the more I communicate my thoughts on paper, without censoring myself, the easier it is to formulate and then articulate my opinion, view and needs to others. The more I honour and express my needs and desires the more my life flows and unfolds with ease.
- keep your hand moving across the page, don’t let it stop
- write down whatever comes to mind, even if it’s something along the lines of “I don’t know what the f*ck to write. This is stupid. I feel ridiculous.”
- journal the moment you get out of bed and again if something is bothering you throughout the day
- get it all on the page – your thoughts, feelings, ideas, complaints, worries, concerns, dissatisfactions and fears
- don’t show what you’ve written to anyone else
- if it’s likely that someone else could read your journal, write on individual pages or purchase a journal that will allow you to rip out the pages easily. I love Spirax notebooks for this reason
- if you haven’t destroyed what you’ve written, wait for at least two months before you review your scribblings. When you do don’t judge yourself. What you’ve written will mostly be very boring, repetitive and often extremely painful to read. However, amongst all the dust and gunk their will be nuggets of gold. Use a highlighter and capture these insights
Julia Cameron’s work has influenced every part of My Story. She has helped me develop a deeper understanding of myself and what is most meaningful to me and has given me the tools to build a life that I LOVE. I now have unshakable sense of self-trust and am finally free to express myself fully in the world. You can read more about the direct impact she has had on my life here.
Photo by Hailey Bartholomew