JOURNALING. If I could pick one this would probably be it. This technique has been used for ages as a way of recording events, putting thoughts to paper, and resolving deep-seated issues within ourselves. There is something about moving something from inside of our hearts and minds to outside onto paper. This often gives us the option of reframing things or seeing them in a new light. Sometimes all we need to do is get things out. Whatever it is, journaling provides an amazing foundation for mental/emotional work. A cornerstone if you will. As with most techniques, there are advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at a few of the advantages of journaling. It is cheap and easy to start. All you need is a pen and a notepad. The notepad can be as simple or fancy as you want. If you plan on keeping it, maybe a nice journal is in order. If it is more a means to get out unwanted feelings or thought patterns, a throwaway may be a better choice. You can date your entries if you want. You can not date your entries if you want. The more basic and informal, the better of a tool it will usually be. We want a journal that we can scratch with a pen. We want a journal we are not afraid of messy handwriting. We certainly don’t want a journal that we are afraid of other people reading. The idea with journaling as with most other techniques is to get in touch with HOW you feel and not just what “makes sense.” If you are frustrated because somebody took your spot in the parking lot earlier that day, vent about it. Now you might go back and look at why you are getting so frustrated about these things, but ultimately your emotions are your emotions. Emotions come from mental thought patterns and spiritual beliefs. Sometimes journaling can help us figure out where these feelings come from at the top levels. It is also a quiet therapy. Some of the other techniques can be loud or disturbing to friends, family, or neighbors. This is something you can do at almost any time in the privacy of any room. You also get to choose WHAT you want to work on. You can simply record or release some stuff that happened earlier that day. You can also choose to really have an intense session and write a few pages about something that happened during childhood. The more we write, the better. The goal, as with most of these techniques, is not to rush to the finish line. The goal is to ALLOW things to come up in the order they wish to. A good technique is to “cycle” relationships. Many emotions come from conflicts in relationships that were never resolved. We have a conflict with a friend or a family member. Maybe this happened in the past. Maybe it happened yesterday. When we hold these conflicts in our systems, it blocks the flow of energy in our bodies. Dedicate a page or two to each family member, friend, relative, classmate, or boss. You may be surprised to see what comes up. Another good way to journal is to cycle different emotions. Some will say that there are only TWO true emotions; Love and Fear. I agree with this, but feel that there are definitely different manifestations of fear. For instance, fear of dying and anger are two very different “feelings.” They are energetically stored in different areas of the body and will cause different disturbances. Take a few pages and write about anger. Reserve a few for grief. Save a couple for romantic relationships. Cycling relationships and emotions are two powerful techniques to start unloading. Some days it may feel like nothing much is being accomplished. Others, you have a powerful breakthrough or an important insight in your life or relationships. Journaling is the “slow and steady” route. If any strong emotions come up during the writing process, simply allow them to wash over you. This may mean shedding some tears. It may mean hitting some pillows or a punching bag. Maybe you need to shake to discharge some fear. Do whatever feels natural at the time. It may be wise to keep a mini-notebook around to jot down issues that seem to keep coming up. Sometimes we need to use combinations of therapies to effectively deal with certain things. If you find that you are having trouble resolving conflicts revolving around yourself, God, or relationships; it may be wise to use some of the other techniques or consult the help of a professional to aid you on your journey.