(Patti) In this episode, Angela and Patti discussed the benefits of journaling to save relationships.
To listen to the full podcast episode click on the link here ➡️ Episode 31 – Journaling to Save Relationships or on the media player below.
(Angela) Journaling is a great way to connect to oneself, work out solutions when struggling with personal relationships or work problems.
(Patti) Let me tell you about how I learned about journaling. I belonged to a women’s group many years ago. Plynn Gutman, Certified Professional Coach, Reiki Master, and Author gave a talk on journaling benefits. She has written a journaling book with prompts called Your Journal Companion365 Writing Prompts to Heighten Awareness of Self and Others.
My journal is what I want it to be, what I need it to be, each time I open it and put my pen to the page. This is what a journal is meant to be.
~ Plynn Gutman, Your Journal Companion 365 Writing Prompts to Heighten Awareness of Self and Others
(Patti) Plynn makes the journaling process easy with an entire year’s worth of thought-provoking writing prompts. She explains the emotional and physiological benefits of personal writing gives instruction on several powerful writing techniques and offers tips on “how, where, and when” to start the process.
(Patti) In that presentation, Plynn made journaling fun, easy, and relaxing. We did a few different journaling techniques with her, and I have been hooked on journaling ever since.
(Angela) I started journaling when I was 12 yrs old. At an age where I had very raw feelings, I discovered that I couldn’t put them anywhere; I could put them in my journal. This was in the 80s. For some reason, at school, my teacher had introduced that concept of a journal instead of a diary. And she taught us that a journal was where you could explore writing, but not writing for others, writing for yourself. And being a socially awkward kid who felt I didn’t belong, I found it the perfect place to write my feelings. I also felt my English teacher – Mrs. Casey, was permitting me to dispose of feelings that I didn’t want to share publicly.
(Angela) Later on, Mrs. Casey read our journals, which were part of our English work, and I wasn’t afraid of her reading my journal. And her encouragement to keep writing was key to me continuing the process of having a private space to dive into myself, my feelings, my creative thoughts, ideas, and the not so great stuff too, or my shadow. I always remember that time at school as a clear moment my teacher was giving me a way out of feeling uncomfortable in myself, and gently encouraged me to write out my feelings so that they had a safe space to be heard.
(Angela) After Mrs. Casey read my first journal, I kept my journals private, and they have been a constant resource for me to write my thoughts, ideas, and later in life, my realizations from my soul and my meditation practice.
(Angela) I often wonder what would have happened if I didn’t have that first year of writing encouraged by a teacher. Would I have written anyway? I don’t know.
(Angela) I do know that the habit of using a journal started very young for me and has saved my relationships by giving me a space to write my feelings, see my feelings and not project my feelings on others because my priority of journaling gave me the habit of writing my feelings in an attempt to externalize them, to try to understand them and this developed to a deeper level the most important relationship, the relationship with myself by writing my feelings and reading them, and developing an ongoing relationship with myself so that I could understand my feelings.
(Angela) To this day – I can go back and read some of the old journals, and still discover things about myself. Some things have stayed constant over time, and some things have changed so significantly, and that has helped me learn the power of recording and watching my journey in life through journaling.
(Patti) When I was probably about 9 to 10 years old, my Mom or Grandmother gave me a diary that had a lock and key. I wonder what happened to it. It would have been fun to read what I wrote in it today.
(Angela) Patti – I have a question: When you discovered the power of journaling with Plynn – How did you start using it in your life and relationships?
(Patti) Great question Angela, journaling was new to me. It opened up so many things for me. Instead of verbally sharing my feelings and emotions on someone else I started using journaling. This helped me not project my anger or judgment on others. Plynn’s book and app have daily journaling prompts, which helped me get into the habit of journaling. She made it easy to want to journal. Then I moved on to journaling on my own. When upset or needed to brain dump or brainstorm for solutions to problems, I would journal whether in a relationship or feelings that needed to be released. These are private thoughts that I was feeling at that moment. Sometimes I would burn or shred what I wrote. I also keep an idea journal, career journal, and a scattered journal. A scatter journal is a journal that I put random thoughts in. My made-up word for the scattered journal. I watched a documentary that Agatha Christie would write down ideas all over the place in journals.
(Patti) What are some of the biggest challenges in starting to journal?
- Finding time?
- Getting started?
- Or not knowing how?
(Patti) Choose a time to journal daily. It can be when you get up in the morning, on your lunchtime, or before going to sleep. You may want to use journaling prompts or self-reflect about your day. Journaling can open up your mind to change and inspire you to pursue your dreams, aspirations, and goals. It allows you to alter your thoughts, which block you. Find someplace peaceful, quiet that you can think and write.
(Patti) When the weather’s nice, I like to journal outside on my patio. Some of my best journaling experiences are when on vacation or camping. Being outdoors is very refreshing. Schedule journaling time and be consistent. You can journal anywhere.
Some of my best journaling experiences are when on vacation or camping. Being outdoors is very refreshing. Schedule journaling time and be consistent. You can journal anywhere.
~ Patti Oskvarek, Leadership and Work-Life Balance Coach
(Patti) What do you need for journaling?
- Pen and Paper or
- A notebook or journal or
- There are journal apps or
- Journaling Prompts on Pinterest, Writing Coaches Websites, etc.
(Angela) Tip: You can choose a time of day that suits your journal’s focus and the best way to maximize your consciousness.
(Angela) The morning is good for setting your intent and energy for the day.
(Angela) The night before sleep is good for reviewing problems, patterns, and whether you achieved your goal for the day, or if you set an intention for your relationships to be calm in the morning, in the evening, you can review – How did this go?
(Angela) I sometimes set myself a journal exercise, for example at noon to review my feelings, so I set the alarm and check in with my feelings at noon and write.
(Angela) What time of day do you naturally feel like looking inward? If you don’t have a habit of looking inward, you can start by setting a time to focus on one question. Write on it – and then after one week of journaling, ask yourself, was this the best time for me to journal? If not, ask yourself what a better time to journal is. Sometimes we create obstacles to journaling because you’re trying to write at the wrong time of day that is the best time of day to connect with yourself and your intuition. I have clients who have resistance to journaling, and sometimes it’s because they are writing at the wrong time of the day or week.
(Angela) If you are not really convinced that journaling can change you in a way that brings outer world success, you can measure this success. When you journal over time, you can watch the change in your connection to your inner world, which changes the way you act or behave in your relationships.
(Angela) Journaling over a period of time with gradual and consistent practice brings deep change. It’s like water dripping on a rock over time. You get this beautiful shape formed by the water constantly moving through the rock.
(Angela) Patti has some specific questions to answer in your journal about relationships which could start to change the way you understand yourself and your relationships. And these questions you can come back to over time to build an ongoing relationship with yourself. This is how coaches use questions to write answers to develop self-knowledge and deepen your relationship with yourself.
(Patti) Here is some Journaling prompts to deepen and save your relationships: Most of these prompts can be used with any relationship type—friendship, romantic, family, or work.
- Describe what you want in the relationship?
- Describe what you don’t want in the relationship?
- What is the relationship like at the moment?
- What is working well in the relationship?
- What one thing can you do to make the relationship better and more of what you want it to be?
- What does love mean to you?
- What does love mean to your partner?
- What is meaningful about the relationship?
- What are some of your expectations for the relationship?
- What is meaningful about your relationship?
(Angela) Number 6 – What does love mean to you that could be a whole book for one person!
(Angela) Questions from a coach can make journaling a lot more structured for anyone unsure where to start when it comes to your relationships. We’ll have those questions in the show notes.
(Angela) And the beauty of a question like number 6 – What does love mean to you – you can keep writing on this topic for many years.
(Angela) I want to invite listeners if there is anything that persistently bugs you – like – why do people act the way they do, why are people unkind – these are great topics to start writing on. I used to write on desire because I was obsessed with understanding why do we want things? Why do we want a person, why do we want an experience in life – and this was a large part of what I wrote on – to understand what I was curious about in the human condition.
(Angela) Curiosity is something that journaling can help you discover more and feed into your relationships.
(Angela) If you have a love relationship that has gotten stale, often there is a deeper need to understand something.
(Angela) It’s very easy to complain about your partner, being ‘not this or not that.’
(Angela) But how often do you get curious about how your partner thinks, why they do the things they do – and also what inspires them.
(Angela) When you journal on questions like:
(Angela) 10 What is meaningful about your relationship?
(Angela) You can start to share deeper things with your partner.
(Angela) That question Patti reminds me about another topic we want to have as a podcast – Can you say I love you? I find people are so unaware of what is the meaning of a relationship – and don’t know how to say “I love you” because they never had the time to contemplate what is the significance of a person to them – or Why a relationship has meaning and value for them. This is why coaching is so valuable – We give clients these value-based questions to help them find meaningful information.
(Angela) And you can always use these questions to go deeper with yourself in the writing process. When you find deeper meaning in your relationship, you can value it and look at it differently instead of getting stuck on what the blocks in the relationship will be. If you don’t know what is meaningful in a relationship, you can’t save the relationship because you don’t know why you want the relationship.
If you don’t know what is meaningful in a relationship, you can’t save the relationship because you don’t know why you want the relationship.
~ Angela Ambrosia, Love and Relationship Coach
(Patti) Journal even when you are feeling disengaged, upset, disappointed, or confused about your relationship, this can be one of the best times to reflect on the relationship situation and get out every ugly thing that has been left unsaid.
(Patti) Journal about happy times in your relationships and refer back to those moments to remind you why you love that person. Create happy moments or gratitude journals.
(Patti) Why is this good for relationships?
(Patti) When you journal about your feelings, you are not taking those emotions out on others. It lets you brain dump and removes all toxic thoughts. Once those emotions and thoughts have been exhaled you can move into rational solutions.
(Angela) Some questions on feelings when you get to a block in a relationship, or your feelings are hurt or coming up.
- What am I feeling?
- Why am I feeling this?
- Is this my feeling – or am I picking up someone else’s feelings?
(Angela) Sometimes, especially if you are an emotional or sensitive person, you get lost in a feeling thinking it is yours, but in relationships, we also are feeling and impacted by the feelings of those we are in a relationship with especially close loved ones, children, parents, lovers, and friends. And even co-workers or neighbors have a deep impact on us especially if we are around them regularly.
(Angela) Patti, Have did you use journaling to save relationships in the work environment?
(Patti) Yes, I had a work journal. I used it to problem solve, work out issues, and emotions. I also gave my staff at the time a work journal. Some used the journal, and some did not. It was their personal choice whether to use it or not. Dumping your thoughts into the work journal helped in so many ways, instead of projecting emotions on others. It gave time to self-reflect instead of a knee-jerk reaction to a solution or problem. I wish I used it more than I did. It could have changed outcomes for the better. Daily work interactions are very much learning experiences when working with others. There are different points of view and work backgrounds. Reflecting on the situation through journaling gives you a new perspective of maybe I could do it differently with a better result.
(Angela) Patti, How did you use journaling to problem solve and brainstorm at work?
(Patti) When something comes up that I need to figure out, pulling out the journal helps make lists of how to solve the problem or situation by brainstorming solutions or ideas to develop different ways to tackle issues or communicate with others. Then brainstorm with others the ideas you’ve come up with. So when I brainstorm, I freestyle the process with no editing. When you edit while you write, your critic’s brain comes out, and you use the flow of ideas. No idea is a bad idea when in the brainstorming process. Working with others in a group journaling on the whiteboard ideas is an excellent way to come with something you wouldn’t think of. Working as a team and journaling is a way to throw out ideas towards solutions. Ask a question to the team and have them journal for solutions. I’ve seen great ideas come up when doing this. Individuals have private time to think and then feel comfortable sharing ideas when they feel safe. People need to feel that they won’t be criticized or reprimanded for their ideas for people to share.
(Angela) Tip: I have recently reviewed some journals where I did a dump of some quite dark emotions. On the one hand, it was good to see that I no longer feel that way. However, I also burned some of the old journals that I felt were no longer me, and the words or feelings in the journal were not something I want to keep. I tore out a few pages, and a few whole journals went into the fire. Sometimes, the writing isn’t necessary to stay forever; sometimes, the writing is to be kept to remind you in your future of where you came from, and how different or connected that is to where you are now.
(Angela) So if you have something that is particularly dark – you can always burn it, which releases the energy.
(Angela) And if you burn something and later think – oh, I wish I hadn’t destroyed it – you can always make a quiet time, sit and think. What was the relevance of what I wrote to what I am moving through now in my life?
(Angela) The significance of what you wrote will still be inside you somewhere, even if your words are not the same. The meaning and feeling will be accessible, and you can connect to it, and journal on the significance of that past piece of journaling.
(Patti) I find that journaling is good for you in so many ways. If there is something, you never want to be seen by others, destroy it by burning or shredding it. Those are your personal thoughts in time, and it is an excellent way to release them. Keep your journals in a secure private place. There are journal apps, and you can make a secure password-protected document on your computer for journaling as well.
(Angela) In Patti’s 21- Days Optimal Work/Life Balance Workshop. www.CoachingforInspirationwithPatti.com there is a section on journaling, and throughout the program, you have a workbook with questions.
(Angela) Try out journaling and let us know if it has made a positive difference in your relationships with others.
(Patti) If you have a topic or a question for us, please leave us a comment or voice message on the Anchor App. You can also listen to this podcast on most major podcast listening platforms like Apple and Spotify.
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Here is a short audio clip of BBR Podcast Episode 31 – Journaling to Save Relationships!
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