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Finding Wellness One Word At A Time


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"I can shake off everything as I write, my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn."
Ann Frank

It is often said that through your words and actions you can create a lasting influence on someone for the rest of their life. I am so grateful for the influences that have touched mine.


I have loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember.


I don’t recall much about the second grade, but one thing I do remember is storytime. I loved it! Every day after lunch, I would sit on my designated carpet square next to Robbie Leader, and anticipate our daily reading of Charlotte's Web. My teacher became immersed in the story and before I knew it I was right there with her in the barnyard with Wilbur and Charlotte. I have loved reading and storytelling ever since.



My love for writing was sparked by my fourth grade teacher Mr. Fortin. He was the teacher who everyone wanted as theirs. He told the best stories, jokes and made class fun. It was in his class that I was introduced to creative writing. He created a spark for writing that has continued to grow throughout my life.

I admit to being a self-proclaimed word nerd. I love defining, writing and reading words. I am especially intrigued by how they work together. Individual words have meaning, but once creatively combined they instantly become a story!



Throughout my life I have always kept a journal. Over time, my writing has grown and deepened. Journaling is my niche. I love the freedom it gives me. With each blank page I am free to write whatever I want without filters or fear of judgement. It is something that is truly mine.


I initially viewed my journals as something I could turn to when faced with difficult moments or seasons. Those days are long gone! My journals beautifully reflect my memories, hopes, goals and dreams. They also capture my heart as I endure the inevitable sticky moments of life.

I don’t believe my chronic illness journey has been anything out of the ordinary. My journey began in 2018 and just like so many others, my life was turned upside down. I lost my job, experienced financial hardship and lost my independence. I experienced fear, hopelessness and debilitating depression. Life felt very dark and my existence became a comfortable spot on the couch. I couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life in this way. I knew I needed to seek professional help.



Why is asking for help so difficult? I am sure there are plenty of valid reasons, but for me it was my pride. I had failed in my own illness and the last thing I wanted to do was invite someone else in to see my shortcomings. I was defeated and ashamed of who I had become. Despite my hesitation, I reached out.


I worked with an amazing therapist who took time to get to know me. I never felt rushed in my treatment. I needed time to absorb my new life. I didn’t want my chronic illness to define me. Instead, I wanted to live beyond it. My therapist and I talked in depth about bridging the gap between my journal writing and therapy. The results have been amazing. Therapeutic journaling has been pivotal in my recovery and ongoing wellness.



Journaling and therapy individually are great. When combined, they become a powerful tool in achieving wellness and reaching defined therapy goals.


Therapeutic journaling uses writing prompts and exercises to support the work of therapy. The practice allows people to be reflective, introspective, and intentional about their writing.



Our health and wellness continually ebbs and flows. Although our experiences may be different, finding what works and what doesn’t is the undivided key to well-being. It is important to take time to discover, acknowledge and willingly adjust what is and what isn’t working in our lives -- A simple question available to us all.


 

What Works & What Doesn’t?


Journaling doesn’t need to be complicated. For this exercise, a simple notebook is all you need. For those feeling a little bit more adventurous, there are online versions and apps, as well as an unlimited supply of beautifully crafted journals for you to choose from. Pick what works best for you. The goal is to fill your day with things that positively impact your wellness rather than depleting it.


  • What Works - Reflect on the things that are working for you. Take time to acknowledge the activities that are positively impacting you and your wellness -- such as your exercise routine or your healthy sleep habits. Be reflective and journal why they are working.


  • What Doesn’t - Spend some time contemplating the activities that are not working for you. Everyone’s list will be different, but overall wellness continues to be the goal. You may find yourself feeling ill after eating sugar or that exercising first thing in the morning causes extreme fatigue. Journal your thoughts and feelings about each activity.


  • Evaluate - The activities that aren’t working for you require some additional thought. Can the activity be adjusted to promote positive wellness or does it need to be replaced or eliminated? Again, take some time to reflect on your responses. Your morning exercise may simply need to be moved to the afternoon. Your sugar intake might need to be decreased or eliminated altogether.


  • Things to keep in mind - Our overall wellness continually changes. Always be gentle and kind to yourself. Be flexible and willing as you make the positive changes that you are searching for.

 

Reducing stress, improving your immune system and keeping your memory sharp are just a few of the therapeutic benefits that journaling provides. Journaling is a creative outlet for your own thoughts, feelings and emotions. It’s all about you! Discover yourself and find your own wellness one word at a time.


Journaling can also enhance your work with a mental health therapist. Reach out to your provider today and discuss adding therapeutic journaling to your treatment.


Reflect and Respond

What is and isn't working for you in life? Reflect and journal your thoughts and feelings. Evaluate and make necessary changes to support positve mental and physical health.





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