In my energy healing practice, my clients often require some “homework” in order to heal. I give out many different types of homework, according to a client’s needs, but by far the most common kind of homework is writing assignments. There are many different ways of writing to heal body, mind, and spirit.
Some of my writing assignments include: free writing, manifest list, gratitude journal, body journal, Priorities, and more. Because there are so many different reasons to write, I have decided to divide this into a three-part series:
1) writing to heal the body;
3) and writing to make dreams a reality.
Future articles will address de-stressing and making dreams a reality, but this article will focus on writing to heal the body.
There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being. Psychologists James Pennebaker, PhD at University of Texas at Austin, and Joshua Smyth, PhD at Syracuse University, contend that regular journaling strengthens immune cells. Other research from Pennebaker and colleague Roger Booth, PhD, indicates that writing decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a stronger antibody response to the Hepatitis B vaccine.
Researchers have also concluded that journaling reduces blood pressure, and improves lung and liver function, among other things (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology). Research further suggests that to tap into writing’s healing power, one must gain learning and understanding of their emotions. In other words – don’t just complain in your writing, learn from your feelings and reactions to your problems.
Here’s an example of how you might put journaling for health into practice: Say you have chronic back pain. Alongside medical or chiropractic care, you might journal your feelings and emotions. Metaphysically, back pain suggests you may be feeling unsupported. Your back is also a reflection of how you govern your life. So you might ask yourself these questions:
- Do I feel supported at work and at home?
- Do I manage my time well?
- Do I feel like I can never get caught up?
- Do I know what to do next?
- Does my significant other ‘have my back’?
As you ponder on your emotions, write them down, paying attention to what “comes out” as you write. Many times deep subconscious fears will come out when you pen your emotions. This is exactly what you want. As you write these things down, try to gain some understanding of why you feel the way you do, seeing things from another perspective, and creating possible solutions to these dilemmas.
Expressing gratitude on paper is also quite valuable in helping your body heal. Carolyn Cooper, founder and CEO of SimplyHealed ™, once shared an experience she had with chronic shoulder pain that cleared up when she implemented a gratitude journal.
She had gone to a doctor for her pain, and was told that surgery would be required for it to heal. She didn’t want to have surgery unless it was absolutely necessary. So for the next three weeks, she listed three things each day that she felt a sincere gratitude regarding her shoulder – how over the years she was able to hold and carry around her babies, how she was able to teach fitness classes through much of her adult life, etc. At the end of three weeks, not only was her shoulder pain gone, but the doctor reported that she didn’t need surgery! That is powerful!
Reflection is important. Give yourself the healing gift of writing assignments that encourage you to give words to your conundrums, your frustrations, your grief. Put it to paper as you consider the possibilities and potential for growth. Thank your body for the many things it does for you every day. Do this for 30 days and watch what happens in your mind and with your health.
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