As part of Coaching Week I participated in a class on using journaling in coaching with an expert named Lynda Monk, who is part of the International Association for Journal Writing.
We began with an exercise she called a “journaling sprint”. Beginning with a few deep breaths, Lynda asked us to write for 2 minutes using the prompt “Right now I notice….” or “Right now I feel…”.
This is what I wrote - “Right now I feel scattered there is a lot going on and things keep popping up like my phone not sending or receiving pictures. Also trying to get the shopping lists done, van ready to sell, B’s birthday, and not sure how K is doing on Kilimanjaro. Also fighting this migraine and fatigue.” Notice I did not care about proper writing rules haha!
So what is transformational journaling, also known as therapeutic journaling? Lynda shared this definition: “It is writing with a conscious intent and deliberate attempt to produce change, healing and growth” She also called it “writing for wellness”.
Lynda also shared a word of warning..if your writing is all negative, if you only reflect on the bad without gaining positive insight then it won’t be healing. So in my 2 minute sprint above, I would want to get out the negative and then focus on how to transform those feelings into something more productive and healing. For really traumatic experiences it can actually be retraumatizing when writing too soon, so journaling might not be the best way to heal at first.
She concluded by saying ‘whatever you write is right’ as long as you write with intention. Write your thoughts and feelings and then take action from the insights you gain, this is how it becomes transformational. Look for patterns, explore what is going on for you and how you want to move forward.
The last thing we did in the class was a guided meditation. We wrote for 5 minutes on this prompt “When I slow down and relax, I notice…” then answered this question “What I notice or What I feel about what I wrote” for about 2 minutes. I sadly was interrupted by a phone call during this time so I need to start over and try again!
Here is a link to some journaling tips from Lynda, I hope you find this helpful!