Keep­ing a jour­nal can be great for your men­tal health

Edmonton Sun - - LIFE - MOLLY SPRAYREGEN The As­so­ci­ated Press

Whether you’re look­ing to re­lease pent-up emo­tions, mo­ti­vate your­self or sim­ply clear your mind, keep­ing a jour­nal can be great for your men­tal health.

“We dis­cover things about our­selves that are hid­den,” says Jamie ri­dler, a cre­ative liv­ing coach and founder of the on­line Jamie ri­dler Stu­dios . She says jour­nal­ing is “great prac­tice for show­ing us some­thing beyond what we think we know.”

your jour­nal should be a place where you feel com­pletely free to ex­per­i­ment and have fun.

but how do you get started? What do you say? Some tech­niques to help get those cre­ative juices flow­ing:

CRE­ATE AN ART JOUR­NAL

there are no rules for art jour­nal­ing, but it gen­er­ally in­volves a com­bi­na­tion of words and im­ages.

“im­ages al­low us to tap into dif­fer­ent parts of us,” says amy Mar­i­cle, an artist, art ther­a­pist and founder of the on­line jour­nal­ing hub Mind­ful art Stu­dio. “With lan­guage we’re re­ally good at cen­sor­ing and con­trol­ling and pre­sent­ing what we think and feel ... through vis­ual means we don’t have the same kind of cen­sor­ship and fil­ters.”

art jour­nal­ing doesn’t re­quire ad­vanced skills. even paint­ing mess­ily all over the page can be cleans­ing, Mar­i­cle says. She en­joys tak­ing one or two colours and merely spread­ing paint all over a page. “it’s like tak­ing a walk in na­ture,” she says. “it helps open me up.”

an­other ex­er­cise she sug­gests: Write out what you’re feel­ing, and then, in light pen­cil, un­der­line words or phrases that stand out to you. Us­ing paint, cover any of the writ­ing you didn’t un­der­line. Now you’ve cre­ated an orig­i­nal poem.

ri­dler says you can also start an art jour­nal by se­lect­ing an im­age from a magazine. Glue it into your jour­nal and write about why you picked it.

She also sug­gests a style of jour­nal­ing known as Fuaxbonichi — di­vid­ing a page into many sec­tions and filling it with words and draw­ings.

Mar­i­cle and ri­dler both urge jour­nal keep­ers not to worry about the fi­nal prod­uct. No one else needs to see it.

MAKE LISTS

Sharie Stines, a ther­a­pist and coach for those suf­fer­ing from ad­dic­tion and/or abu­sive re­la­tion­ships, sug­gests keep­ing grat­i­tude lists, and lists of your strengths and goals. She also rec­om­mends writ­ing out self-af­firm­ing dec­la­ra­tions such as “i am enough” and “i can do this.”

WRITE LET­TERS

ad­dress­ing jour­nal en­tries to a per­son in your life can help re­lease bot­tled-up feel­ings. Stines reg­u­larly uti­lizes this tech­nique with her clients.

MInd­FUL arT STU­dIo/AP

A jour­nal en­try called Por­tals is achieved with acrylic paint and mixed me­dia pa­per to cre­ate a unique page.

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