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15 Journaling Ideas for Self-Discovery, Healing, and Fun

15 Journaling Ideas for Self-Discovery, Healing, and Fun

We’ve heard it a million times: the most important relationship in our life is the one with ourselves. Yet, in our busy lives, we typically don’t have (or make) the time to connect with our inner self, check in and give it some love.

Ever since I was a teenager, I found solace and healing in journaling. By using images along with writing, I was able to access and work through deeper personal information. Getting to know myself and tapping into my own inner wisdom that way helped me like myself more. I became more at ease with myself.  Additionally, setting time aside to journal and be with myself was (and is) empowering on its own.

It didn’t come easy, to be honest. I used to feel very self-conscious about my artistic skills. I stumbled upon many inner excuses to avoid picking up a Sharpie or to pick up the scissors. I worried about “wasting” materials. “If I am not a master artist, why would I waste art materials?” was a limiting belief I encountered and worked through within myself. How do master artists get there? By “wasting” materials as they practice! Plus, I wasn’t trying to be a master artist; I just needed a tool to deepen my connection with myself and have fun at the same time. As I kept at it and stopped judging (attaching value) my journal pages, I began having fun with it. Joy is like a soothing, healing balm for our inner wounds. It is the way our souls recharge.

You will find ideas for integrating imagery into your journaling process in the list below. Get a big journal, print this list and glue it on the first two pages. As you feel called by your inner self for some ICT (Intimate Connection Time), grab your journal and let these prompts inspire you. Use them as a gateway into your core being and as a kindle to ignite your creative power.

Here we go!

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1. Journal about things that gave you immense joy as a child.

Use a copy of a favorite picture from your childhood to represent yourself and embellish the page according to his/her desire. (Hint: You can use this prompt as a welcome ceremony to your inner child).

2.  Find an image in a magazine that reflects your current emotional status.

Then cut it out, and paste it on a blank journal page. Intently, be with this image for a few minutes and then let words flow onto the page without editing them. You can write two sentences or two pages. Just let it out. Let the image speak to you. You may be surprised at how much lighter you will feel.

3. Pick a favorite inspirational quote and design a journal page around it.

Write about the wisdom this quote awakens in you and how applies to your life. Why is it important for you at this time?

4. Think about someone who inspires you.

What characteristics of that person make him/her so inspirational? Do you see any overlapping qualities between you and this person? Use those characteristics to inspire your journal page.

5. Journal about a high school heartbreak you had.

Make it fun, colorful and creative to celebrate a right-of-passage experience you had. Note how this relationship helped you grow.

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6. Take your journal to a park and document what you see.

Write it, draw it, or paint it. Enjoy being the non-reactive observer.

7. If you had one superpower what would it be?

Journal about what kind of things you would do this power, or why you think you are drawn to it.

8. Rituals are a huge part of our lives.

Some people like to take a hot bath before going to bed, some like to light a candle and sip wine after a long day’s work, and some read poetry on the way home from work on the bus. Journal about some of your favorite rituals in life.

9. Find the lyrics to a song that is attached to a good memory in your life.

Create a page about it. Revisit the memory. Dwell in the positive feelings this memory awakens in you.

10. Journal about your unhealthy habits.

Use your blank journal page as an accepting, unconditionally loving space holder for who you are—even with these habits. Use this exercise to release the guilt you might feel for having them. Acknowledge your humanness. Write yourself a permission slip that lets you continue these habits until you are ready to trade them in for an upgrade.

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11. Take ten minutes to sit with the thought, “What am I most looking forward to in my life?”

Then journal about it. Don’t try to make it realistic according to where you are in life right now. Use it to add a little more juice to your manifesting.

12. Fill your art journal page with all the negative things a caregiver or a parent said to you.

Such as, “You’re not good enough. You’ll never be anybody special.” Then paint over the words (cover them in a way that you desire) until they’re not visible. Then write what is true about you instead.

13. Journal about a secret you have with yourself (that you have not told anyone).

Write or journal about it visually. This will help reduce its charge over you and gain some insights into it.

14. Imagine a perfect date with a romantic partner (that you have or wish to have).

Write it in detail. See if there are elements in this fantasy date that can give you clues as to what your inner being desires and how else you might get these needs met. For example, if going camping and skinny dipping at a secluded beach is a part of your fantasy date, it might inspire you to plan a mini camping trip with a friend. Or you might realize that you haven’t done anything adventurous in a long time.

15. Open up a fresh page and write,”My favorite things in life.”

This last one is especially helpful if you are going through a rough, somewhat hopeless and dry period in your life.This will be a running list that you keep adding to. So leave 2–3 pages following that one blank—even if you start another entry soon after. You may feel uninspired at first but trust me on this one: it will become a fun exercise.

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There you have it! Feel free to add to this list as you feel inspired. If you are having a hard time getting started, invite a few close friends over for a potluck and integrate visual journaling into your hangout time.

Consistent connection with our inner self allows life to flow more freely. When we are not emotionally or creatively congested, we are more able to hear the intuitive guidance we receive and act on our soul’s instructions as we hear them. That’s when living becomes more fun.

Happy journaling!

Featured photo credit: 2/365 Days Pen and Paper by Athena via flickr.com

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Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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