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JOURNAL THERAPY FOR YOGIS by Venugopal Acharya


If you want to rise above your worries, rather than get bogged down by them, try writing a journal. The main cause of unhappiness among grown-ups is their unmindful nature. There is a strong connection between happiness and being in the present. Unfortunately, most people constantly brood over the past or worry about the future. As their minds rapidly rush from the past to the future, they are lost in the present and the reward for this mindless tossing is mental exhaustion. Journal writing promises an end to this tiring mental clutter. When you write, you are in the present; although you write about a past event or wish for a better future, your thoughts are penned down, and you do connect to the now. And that’s a liberating experience. Many strong left-brained people find it difficult to connect to others’ emotions and the right-brained people often feel the need to be more organized and logical. Journal writing helps both parties. The logical kind gets to flex their creative muscles and their finer sentiments blossom. On the other hand, when the creative and intuitive kind writes journals, they find clarity and reason to express what they feel. Medical research has also confirmed that regular journal writing strengthens T-lymphocytes, the immune cells of the body, besides reducing symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. James Pennebaker, psychologist, and researcher at the University of Texas, in his book Writing to Heal, has explained how stress often comes from emotional blockages, an overdose of thinking or a thinking addiction. When we write journals, we are essentially converting our experiences into a language that helps us comprehend them. When we see things for what they are, our awareness increases. And that inevitably releases us from mentally unhealthy entanglements. It’s easy to begin. Just pick up a pen and paper, or your laptop or smartphone, and start writing. You need not follow any rules, just write down your feelings and thoughts without editing anything. You aren’t looking for an ‘A’ with these journals; you are simply giving your emotions and thoughts an outlet. And what follows is a natural and organic growth of the consciousness. When we write a journal, we see our mind and feelings. Rather than being absorbed in the daily thoughts and feelings governing our lives, we can, for a change, become an observer—we get an aerial view of our life. Sparing twenty minutes daily may seem a challenge for the busy bees of the twenty-first century. But, if you were to account for your time, you would see that we spend that much time daily on so many trifles anyway. Try an experiment now and then read further. Resolve to just write for the next ten minutes. Set the watch and start. As you write, don’t worry about what to write; just write whatever comes to the mind. But remember an important principle— let the pen or the keyboard not stop for the next ten minutes. Even if your mind goes blank, write that you are going blank but don’t stop the pen!

Start now!

How did you feel? Restless, joyful or indifferent? In either case, you slowed down your life for ten minutes and inadvertently, as your life rapidly sped by you, you just pressed the pause button.