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.