I have always believed in the power of the pen—as if you couldn’t tell by my choice of profession. But first and foremost, writing has always been personal. Since I could string a series of sentences together, I have kept a journal. A couple years ago, my mom finally made me clean out my childhood bedroom, and I found a stack, teeming with pages upon pages of my innermost thoughts—my highest highs and my lowest lows—as well as more angsty teenage poetry than I want to admit. Still, flipping through these pages, I saw the way my younger self coped with the stress and confusion of growing up and the foundations of how I cope with the world and my life today.
For many people, keeping a journal is an easy way to express their feelings and document their journey. Writing daily in a journal is an exploration of consciousness: love, hope, and fear—a worthy undertaking.
There is a primal and necessary human need to tell stories. Besides, what is therapy, but a form of storytelling? Storytelling is the great democracy. We all want to (need to) tell our stories. There is a certain catharsis in being able to tell your story, in confronting your demons.
I realize now the transformative power of language and storytelling and that bravery in writing deflects cowardice in life. The chances I take in my private journal, leaps of honesty and experimentation, nourish my confidence. It’s an incredible release to transcribe the inner workings of your mind. Try it. Face the truth of your emotions and document them with a raw honesty that many of us avoid.
Dr. Sadeghi, co-founder of Be Hive of Healing based in Los Angeles, recommends Purge Emotional Writing for 12 minutes a day. This is a therapeutic technique in which you cozy up, light a candle, and set a timer for 12 minutes. In a journal, write stream of consciousness style about any issue, or one in which you’ve been dishonest with yourself or others. Keep writing, regardless of whether it makes any sense, let the pen and release of emotions move you forward. Once the 12 minutes are over, don’t review your words, crunch the paper up and burn it. You’ve purged this negativity and don’t want to take it back internally. Why 12 minutes? It symbolizes balance because there are 12 hours a day and night in each 24-hour period. There are also 12 months in a year, symbolizing the end of a cycle and renewal.
I believe in the liberating illumination that writing can dawn upon the writer. I can’t recommend the daily ritual of journal writing enough. Over the long run, this habit of frequency fosters both productivity, creativity, and immense healing. We are part of a mystery. A beautiful mystery that we must attempt to orient ourselves within if we are to have a sense of our own nature. Writing is as easy as finding a quiet moment and putting pen to paper.