Mindfulness Journaling Towards Mental Wellness

I have suffered from obsessive compulsive thinking and suicidal ideation since my teenage years. I meditate frequently and have always felt attracted to and comfortable with the meditative arts, such as yoga and tai chi. However, these practices have never seemed to help me actually change my thought process nor the messages of my erratic, intrusive thoughts.

I never understood how I could practice meditation as often as I do and still feel out of control when it comes to my thoughts and feelings. What I’ve discovered on my personal journey is that a lot of this “out of control feeling” is actually due to my personal need to feel in control and my lack of acceptance and empathy towards myself. I was still holding onto toxic, critical thoughts of myself even if I was able to separate from them for long periods of time.

I notice that as I practice more affirmations through my journaling practice, these intrusive thoughts have changed their tone. I am able to actually become less reactionary to their messages and have even noticed myself automatically repeating some of my favorite affirmations in my head instantly in order to cope with the negative thoughts. This is a huge improvement for someone like me.

What’s helped me really be able to tune into the messages and work through my own inner feelings regarding the affirmation’s messages has been what I can only explain and define as mindfulness or meditation journaling. Because this practice is so different from my meditation practice, I prefer the term “mindfulness journaling”.

Mindfulness journaling allows me to becoming absorbed in the messages that I’m drawing through a mantra like process of awareness. I typically begin one of these sessions with an affirmation I like. I may or may not get an idea for how I want these pages to look before starting. I try not to take a lot of time with planning and if I am going to give myself a design, I keep it very loose and adaptable.

As I write the affirmations and doodle, I repeat it’s message over and over in my head. I let myself see and draw symbols that can remind me of this affirmation’s power, while also paying attention to my inner thoughts and feelings regarding the affirmation’s message. I find that the more unbelievable the affirmation, the stronger the power it typically has over me and my inability to believe it’s truth due to my preconceived negative opinions of myself. This allows me to acknowledge that this affirmation is telling me something I really need to work on – whether that be acceptance for something that I can not change or the beginning step of awareness towards a trait that I can and want to change about myself.

I prefer to do this type of journaling in my paper notebook so I won’t be distracted by technology and it’s constant alerts. It also allows me to go anywhere to practice without worrying about battery power.

I will begin sharing some of my favorite affirmations periodically on this blog along with my journal entries. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and they inspire you to do the soul work you need to become the person you’ve always envisioned yourself to be.

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The Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With …

Finish the quote. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with…… one step!” That’s right. I’ve learned through my many years of failing at things that usually I’ve already given up before I’ve begun. I am determined not to give up this time – even if that means, one step at a time.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

So, this realization of needing to start and continue brought me to my first question. Who needs an excuse to shop at Sephora or Ulta? Definitely not this girl! However, of course I had to give myself some purpose to up my skin care budget as I see my 30’s quickly evaporate the youth from my face. (I also needed something to tell the fiance, since I knew he would most definitely notice the cost of my new favorite hobby.) So, there I was, reasoning with my fears, when my friend Amanda encouraged me to start this blog.

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My first fear was, “You’re too late.” The second fear was a little more personal…. “You’re too lazy.” It’s true. I have not been obsessed with taking care of my skin since birth and I am definitely NOT someone who doesn’t know how to relax. (Who are these people and how do I do that for someone else?!? <— The one million dollar question has been asked and possibly the answer to my happiness.) In fact, I can sleep anywhere (usually any time) and could be a champion couch potato. I’ve always summed my lazy side up to “being creative” and “not athletic” but that’s kind of a cop out. The truth is that I’m ADD and have a very strong tendency of switching priorities on the fly or running myself so hard that I eventually burn out and quit. Therefore, I am very aware of “slow and steady wins the race” and that’s exactly what I know I need to do to get my skin back on track. Therefore, I’m trying to find every hack to make sure I stay on top of my skin care regime and make this passion into a lifestyle and, hopefully by default, perfectly smooth and shining skin.

So what gives me hope now that I’m in my 30’s? Well, I decided it’s too early to give up. Yes, I’ve lived for 31 trips around the sun, but I have a lot of hope that this is only close to 1/3 of my entire life. That’s right. I want to live to be old – maybe even over 100! I know that I can’t avoid the inevitable and we all eventually show some age, but I’d like to do it as gracefully as I can. This passion for youthful skin, plus a love for spas, healthy living, skin treatments, facials, lotion, oils, etc. is what inspired me to start this blog. If you like it, please thank my friend Amanda. She is the one who gave me the final push to get it off the ground.