Through most of middle school, high school and college I kept a journal by my bed that I used like a personal diary, recording life updates, joys, fears, crushes, dreams for the future, and anything and everything. Much of it is embarrassing to read now but having that space to write a letter to myself was a powerful tool that helped me process life and connect inwardly with my emotions as well.
The concept of a food diary is popular for weight loss or providing accountability for your food intake, but did you know that journaling out your emotions is also effective?
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way recommends stream of consciousness writing first thing in the morning to help capture all the things swirling around in your mind and put them out on paper. She began working with groups of women using this tool to help recapture their creativity and connect with themselves and found an interesting side effect: many of the women also began to lose weight!
When we think about emotional eating, this makes a lot of sense. We are often eating mindlessly to ‘feed’ our emotions- food to cover up pain or fear, food to celebrate successes, food to procrastinate a daunting project.
Instead, if we can be honest with ourselves and face our fears, write out our worries, and see our emotions poured out on paper we can attend to them and to ourselves in healthier ways.
We can acknowledge those feelings (rather than squash them down each morning.)
We can discover an emotion we didn’t know was brewing (and do something more productive with it.)
She recommends writing whatever comes to mind when you first wake up for about 30 minutes. But I’ve found that even if it’s 5 minutes before bed a few times a week, it makes a difference. Taking time to check in with yourself allows you to attend to your own needs and be more present and mindful throughout the day- including in your food choices.
This is a great tool to pull out to help get you through the holidays, too.
Do you journal, either personal journaling or keeping a food diary?
How do you make time to slow down and check in with yourself?
PS- The theme of this year’s January Reset challenge will be learning to eat intuitively. I’ll announce it in my newsletter first. If you aren’t subscribed, you can join here!