Journaling and Healing: A Look at Healthy Introspection

​On this site, we have posted a lot of articles focusing on CBD, THC and cannabis in general. We have covered extraction methods, available products for people and their pets, and have taken a deep dive into the spiritual and physiological benefits of the hemp plant.

As our focus is meant to be on wellness in general and a holistic approach to the same, we wanted to talk a little bit about something that can be a very helpful addition to the wellness toolbox: the practice of journaling.

Lately, there has been a lot of talk around the effectiveness of journaling in conjunction with psychotherapy, and around its usefulness in recovery from addiction, trauma and other emotional / mental health issues. It may seem like a new fad, but of course journaling is a very old practice. Much of what we know about the great figures of history (heroes and villains alike), we learned from their private journals. Whole novels have been written from the perspective of the journals of the characters (Bram Stoker's fantastic opus Dracula is one example that everyone should be at least nominally familiar with).

In a wellness context, however, journaling need not be as intense or complicated as Jonathan Harker's meticulous notes of his ill-fated trip to Transylvania. In fact, if it's going to work at all, it should probably be kept very simple.

What is generally recommended in a therapy model is to use a journal to simply keep track of how one feels as one progresses through the healing process. This can range from two or three words stored in a smart phone to keep track of emotions, to a stream-of-consciousness monologue poured out into a fancy, leather-bound journal. Probably most of what actually takes place will fall somewhere in between. The important thing is to choose a method that works for you, and more importantly, that you can handle. Ask yourself- do you have the time in a day to sit and write out your feelings? Or is it more realistic to expect a few quick notes jotted down at moments of opportunity?

The idea is just to keep track of how you feel. In our sphere, journaling could focus on what effects you see and feel from a CBD product. For example, and entry could simply be “felt calmer today”, with a notation of the date and the amount of CBD you took that morning.

Looking over your notes at the end of the week, you can begin to discover patterns. For example, does a week of using a CBD tincture lead to better reactions to your spouse? Are you more patient at work? Do you feel more relaxed during your morning commute than you are used to feeling? These are the kinds of questions that can open doors to real improvement of your own behaviors.

Probably the most important things to document in your journal would be your reactions. For example, if Monday's entry reads “Had a difficult drive home tonight; was very short with my wife at dinner and felt bad afterword”. Reading over this on Tuesday, one might be more mindful of how they are letting their mood affect others. Ideally, you are identifying triggers- situations and stimuli that lead you to unhealthy behaviors and reactions. Once you identify these triggers, you can work to remove the ones that can be removed, and manage your reactions to the ones that cannot. Like the AA “serenity prayer” suggests, you're striving to “accept the things we cannot change”.. and .. “change the things we can”.

Of course, journaling alone is not a passport to wellness. Neither is meditation, nor is therapy or cannabis. Wellness- true, comprehensively healed wellness, can only come from a balanced conjunction of healthy practices. Used together, these things make up a solid repertoire of healthy approaches and reactions to life. This is what we're trying to do at Mellow By Design; to offer some tools that you can use to build your wellness repertoire. Journaling is a solid, healthy piece of the healing puzzle.

So use CBD. Use THC, if that's your bag and it is legal where you're located. Meditate. See a therapist. And keep a journal, be it a hefty grimoire or a spiral-bound pocket notebook. It may be the road map you need to find your way to where you want to be. And remember always; you're not where you want to be, you're not where you need to be, and you're not where you're going to be. But if you're maintaining healthy practices, you're definitely not where you were.

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