REFLECT

3 Steps to Start a Journalling Habit for Stressful Times

Psychologist Dr. Stacy Thomas shares her 3 steps to start a supportive journalling practice to cultivate resiliency through challenging times.

“Go with the flow.” As mamas, it’s an essential mantra.

Sure, we’ve got parenting, career and health goals….but when challenge and transition rear their heads, you gotta do what’s right for you and your kiddos in that moment.

We are big believers in building a toolbox of resources, ideas and approaches that we can draw on in different seasons and challenges.

Right now, in 2020, we’re in a place of global challenge and change.

Our Mama Members tell us they’ve been just in “survival mode” over the pandemic… and with school back in and winter approaching, you tell us your emotions are vascillating between overwhelm and outright depression.

One of our favorite women to follow and learn from is our friend, Dr. Stacy Thomas. Dr. Stacy is a Mama of two and Psychologist who specialies in helping people through big life changes.

 Dr. Stacy has created a wonderful FREE resource called “The Growing Forward Journal” with daily prompts to help you feel more confident as you make life changing decisions, regardless how big or small they feel for you.

We couldn’t think of anyone better to talk to when it comes to dealing with our big feelings around the never ending pandemic.

Here are 3 of Dr. Stacy’s must-do steps for cultivating a journaling habit to support you through tough times.

Chatting with yourself via your journal can help you to uncover your real hopes, motivations and needs.

Get Grounded 

Dr. Stacy recommends taking a few minutes to turn your thinking brain off and shift your attention to listen inward.

When we start from a place of feeling overwhelmed, hurried or frustrated, it can be harder to acknowledge what it is we really want and need.

Take a few minutes to sit in stillness and use a mantra or affirmation that promotes self acceptance. Dr. Stacy uses this mantra that really resonated with us:

“There is nothing you could possibly say, think or feel that would ever compromise my love for you.”  

Repeat that to yourself, let it sink in and breathe. 

Then begin your journalling from this place.

Cultivate Self Compassion

When it comes to coming face to face with your emotions, we need to feel safe enough to allow ourselves to explore them. It can be hard to admit that you are struggling or having a hard time with your family, your partner, your job, your body image, etc.

Dr. Stacy speaks to the fact that as parents we often feel triggered or like we’re failing at this parenting gig. Reminding yourself that many, if not all, parents feel this way may help you feel connected to a “larger human experience”.

Cultivating this self compassion and acceptance is a key of piece of moving through challenging times. We often get in our head-trying to figure it all out.

But Dr. Stacy suggests to practice “expressive writing” and to let out our feelings of unworthiness, disconnection, fear and doubts. Think of being curious about your feelings rather than judging them.

Acknowledge What Works

At the end of the week take some time to look back at your journal, looking for where you see “evidence of growth”. 

What have you written/noticed that brings you clarity or a feeling of happiness/contentment?

And what areas do you feel like you need more support in?

Take a moment to make an intention for the coming week. For example:

Perhaps you found that the grounding affirmation really allowed you to get out of your head, so you might commit to practicing that at the beginning of each journalling session.

Or maybe you found going for a walk by yourself was therapeutic and allowed you to clear your head. Schedule in a few solo walks for yourself. 

You can download Dr. Stacy’s Growing Forward Journal for free right here or follow her@growingforwardsoulschool for a live journalling practices and daily insights on Instagram.

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