"If you'd like to stop suffering from chronic symptoms, then I'm here to tell you how", Nicole Sachs, LCSW. These are the words that changed my life.
As a person that suffered from debilitating chronic symptoms for 10 years, I'm here to tell you that you can stop the suffering, If you let it.
Nicole Sachs taught me that my emotions were literally killing me. Not because I wasn't actually feeling them, because I wasn't actually feeling them.
I have to tell you, I was a skeptic at first. I was introduced to the practice of "Journal Speak" a few years ago. This is a daily expressive writing practice, basically offloading on paper. it's a fanastic way to give your unfelt feelings a voice. A voice in a safe space, that are for you and only you.
I knew all about journaling and gratitude lists, but this was very different. I didn't realize that connecting to your past and present emotions that were deeply hidden, would change everything.
The idea to begin to fully feel your emotions, really feel them was a bit frightening, yet I was willing to do anything to help my chronic symptoms heal.
The practice of journal speak, or what I like to call release journaling has changed my life, as well as the lives of my clients. This is the number one technique I now use in my coaching practice. Once you begin to give your deepest emotions a voice, this is when the healing really begins.
Every day, your brain has convinced itself that it is "safer" for you to be in pain, or to have other chronic symptoms than it is to deal with hidden crap. Once you dredge up the hidden crap, the symptoms will begin to melt away.
Each day you will pick up a journal, notebook or computer and dump out your negative emotions, traumatic experiences and hidden fears or worries. Anything that is taking space in your brain that causes you to worry or stress. This is a safe space to really let go, get it out, be very honest, swear, be messy, get it all out onto the page. No one else is ever going to read this, this is just between you and the page. You are giving your surpressed emotions a voice and letting it all out.
There are 3 Release Journal lists.
Past stressors- this could be difficult relationships, traumatic childhood issues, school stuff, parenting issues, difficult friends etc.
Present stressors- this could be financial stuff, your job, relationship struggles, children struggles, loss/grief.
Personality traits- this is a biggie. Many people that suffer from chronic symptoms are very self critical and very hard on themselves. Some other traits may be... validation seeker, feelings of not good enough, a worrier, a worst case scenario person, hardworker, very organized and a perfectionist.
How to practice release journaling.
Pick a good time of day that you are alone and safe, I find the best time is first thing in the morning.
Pick one topic you have occupying the most space in your head from your lists or whatever pops up at that moment.
Just begin writing. Nicole Sachs recommends writing for 20 min. per day. Let yourself be open and totally brutal, no need for proper spelling, just rant.
When the time is up, tear the paper up and throw it away. You got it all out, now it's time to let go.
I also recommend after journaling listen to a positive 5 minute meditation or make a list of three things you're grateful for that day.
For more information on Release Journaling please email or go to my website.