For most of us, there’s a lot more going on inside our minds and bodies than we let on. We may carry ourselves with the utmost confidence,when in reality we feel like a mess. There’s a lot we haven’t processed,perhaps because we don’t know how or simply don’t want to.

When we bottle up negative thoughts and feelings for too long, we get sick. This negativity may manifest itself in something as minor as a common cold, or even in something as serious as a chronic illness.

To get healthy and stay that way, we have to get to the root of our repressed feelings and release them. One of the simplest ways to do this is through journal therapy. It’s free, and it’s accessible 24 hours a day. The most challenging part is getting started. These five steps will make it as easy as possible for you to get to the page.

1. Decide Why You Want to Get Healthy.

Think for a second about the greatest obstacle to your health. Close your eyes and imagine how your mind,body, and spirit will feel if that burden were gone. As your body relaxes,you’ll probably feel yourself smiling.

As you open your eyes, remind yourself that you can feel that way. Whatever it is that’s getting in the way of your health, journaling will help you fix it. Journal writing therapy helps you chip away at all the pieces of yourself that don’t serve you. It gets you back to the person you truly are—and even better, it helps you to become who you want to be.

2. Gear Up to Start Journaling.

Pick out your materials with care,and make it fun. This is a chance to customize your personal journaling experience. Do you prefer a spiral notebook or yellow pad? A rollerball pen or ballpoint? You might even choose crayons and binder paper if you’re feeling playful. It’ll all up to you.

The same goes for space. Choose a space that suits you, one where you can be alone and quiet. Perhaps it’s a hammock in the backyard, or your cleared desk in your home office.

Pick a time of day when you can dedicate10-15 minutes to journaling. You might schedule the 10-15 minutes before yourkids wake up in the morning, or the 10-15 before you go to bed at night. Makean appointment with yourself and put it on your calendar.

3. Show Up.

Your mind will come up with all kinds of excuses not to. One of the most common is, “I’m too busy today. I’ll start tomorrow.” Would you blow off one of your clients or friends this way?Show yourself the respect you’d show them.

4. Push Through Page Fright.

When you sit down in front of the blank page, I can almost guarantee that you’ll encounter resistance. You’ll remember that you have to do laundry, or read that newspaper article. You’ll tell yourself that you don’t have anything to write about. You might call this resistance “writer’s block.” I call it page fright.

Our busy lives allow us to repress our issues, so we can avoid them instead of processing them. Bottom line, it’s scary to face your fears. Congratulate yourself for getting this far in the process. Tell your inner critic, “Thank you for sharing,” and put your pen to the page.

5. Write, Write, Write.

Write freely, without censoring yourself. Keep the pen moving without stopping, even if you write, “I don’t know what to write.” Write whatever’s on your mind; get it out of your head and onto the page. Be honest, because no one has to read this. Be grateful for the rare opportunity to express yourself without hesitation.

Remember that getting started with a healing journal is the hardest part. Once you understand why you’ve decided to journal, prepare yourself properly, and push through your resistance, you’ll experience how liberating it is to journal. And once you get started, you may not want to stop.

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Looking for more information on journal writing and how to overcome? Then I invite you to get your FREE writing exercise by visiting my site today.

From Mari McCarthy - Writing Therapy Specialist