Everybody has an Inner Critic (or two or three). Your Inner Critic is that shadowy voice of negativity that makes itself known inside every human being. No one is immune.

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Have you heard that one? Thinking about the Inner Critic reminds us of the wisdom of that statement. The question is not whether you have an Inner Critic, but whether you know how to manage the monster.

We also have a Good (and Wise) Inner Coach that has our best interest at heart. How we respond to our Inner Coach determines how we feel. Do we nurture or ignore it?

Next time you are confused or feeling overwhelmed, or needing an answer of any kind, ask in your journal, What Would My Inner Coach Do?

And then ask, What Would My Inner Critic Do?

Let's be adults here. You can't just decide to turn off your Critic. It's there for a purpose, however vague that purpose may seem to you. Making sweeping statements like "I'm just going to ignore the creep," will get you nowhere.

Things are far more complex than that. Creative management is your best bet for the long run. Creative management is accepting and building on what is.

Like this, for example:

A client had recently lost her job and decided to turn to her natural talent for writing as a means to make a living. But she was dismayed to find that the process of becoming this new kind of professional involved profound trials.

Though her impulse was to run away, she chose to confront the doubts and obstacles that beset her progress at every turn. She included time in every day to write in her journal, bravely facing her Inner Critic, who would shriek about her inadequacy, her failures and shortcomings, the folly of her writing aspirations.

My client listened carefully. She also listened to the steady voice of her Inner Coach, who believed in her no matter what she did. And then one day, she began to respond. No, she was not losing her mind; she was gaining better control of it.

She made it clear to her Inner Critic what she wanted to do, and how she planned to do it, and why it seemed like a good idea. She also set out terms for their relationship, so her Inner Critic did not always automatically get full attention.

The next time she journaled, she experienced a much better mental balance, understanding the relative usefulness of those two Voices – the Critic and the Coach. Nowadays, the Critic is far more respectful.

Like this client, you'll find that working with your journal in this way can lead to awesome insights for your own health and happiness – fully endorsed by both sides of your brain!

But you can't get there without journaling.

That is to say, just mulling these things over in your mind won't work. You have to write the words. Why?

• You have to do the thought process that produces the words that you write, so it becomes something you can articulate in detail.

• You have to do the hand-brain coordination that brings the wisdom of your body into the equation.

• You need to create a concrete record of your processes, to which you can return later.

It's too easy to forget that we have an Inner Coach, as we cower in fear of our Inner Critic. But renewing the strength of your confident and creative side can be as easy as picking up your pen and journaling awhile. With your Inner Coach by your side, you can balance the influences of your Inner Critic and achieve a healthier life.

Author's Bio: 

By Mari L. McCarthy - The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Health of It™. Please visit Mari's blog at http://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog/. Her latest publication is titled, Your Money Matters:Use Journal Writing Therapy to Get Financially Fit Now . See http://www.createwritenow.com/self-therapy-money-ebook/ for details.