After a massage or bodywork session, some clients may go home and potentially experience an emotional response. This is because touch is healing, and we store emotions in the body. Massage and bodywork can affect these emotions as they are stirred up and released. Depending on each individual client’s situation, some have a strong emotional release while others may have none. For those who might experience a strong emotional response, journaling is a fantastic tool to help process, heal, and release any built up emotions that may come up after a bodywork session.
Journaling is a wonderful tool to assist clients with any emotional response, not just after a massage or bodywork session, but any time they feel out of sorts. I don’t mean the dreamy-“Dear Diary”- preadolescence-glitter-and-stickers sort of journaling like when you were 11. I’m talking about the sort of journaling where you release pent-up emotions, anger, or pain, or just plain unleash what may be too many thoughts swirling around in your beautiful head.
WHY in the world would I want to journal like THAT? Because journaling in this way is actually quite therapeutic. Journaling can bring great clarity when you look back a few days or weeks later, especially when you are in the middle of a rough or emotional time.
HOW would one journal for healing? It’s simple, really. Grab a cheap, spiral bound notebook. And any pen, pencil, or writing utensil you choose. Now start writing. Write whatever is in your head. It doesn’t have to make any sense. Forget grammar and punctuation. Don’t even worry about spelling. There is no need for complete sentences. The idea is to just get whatever thoughts are running through your mind out of your head and on to the paper.
Some might find it hard to start writing. Don’t focus so much on how to write, or what to write… just WRITE. You may start out with “I have no idea what to write here”.. Once you begin, the words will flow. Don’t have words to write? Then doodle until the words start to flow. There are no rules. Just release what’s jumbling up your thoughts.
I personally practice this journaling exercise when I am really stressed out, or restless, when I have an important decision to make, when I’m emotionally upset, when I can’t sleep… you get the idea. Now, I am no psychotherapist, but I can tell you from personal experience that this exercise always calms my mind and elevates my mood.
I like to call this practice of journaling a “brain dump”. I find that once that jumble of thoughts is on the paper and out of my head, an interesting thing happens… I actually physically and emotionally RELAX. Almost instantly, I stop being anxious and antsy. Pressure is released. And I can look back over what I wrote and get some perspective and insight and clarity! Sometimes, the clarity isn’t always immediate. Clarity can take a few days or a few weeks, using this technique. Once those thoughts are out of your head and on the paper, your mind doesn’t feel the need to repeat those thoughts over and over and over.. and that’s a really great thing.
Journaling this way brings to the surface things that you might not have realized were bothering you, like deeply held emotions, trauma, or beliefs. Brain Dump journaling is an outlet to express raw, seemingly out of control emotion or thought in a constructive way. Powerful stuffs in a spiral bound package? Yes, please!
Ok.. so once I journal out my emotions and I have this release of stress and now I am calmer, and maybe even have some clarity… then what?
Some people keep journaling and continue to fill up the notebook over time. This can be useful to look back on and see patterns of emotions or behavior down the road. For me personally, this process is a release, so I tend to want to fully release all that stuff. I have been known to shred the pages, or burn them, tear them up and bury them, put them in water to freeze them, and even tear them up and flush them! Yes, I said FLUSH them. Talk about a TRUE, powerful release!
And WHY a cheap, spiral bound notebook? Why not an expensive, gorgeous, leather, gilded notebook that was calling my name at the bookstore? Honestly, you could pick any journal you want, but this is some serious, therapeutic work. It doesn’t actually have to be a spiral bound notebook at all.. You could use loose sheets of paper, a steno pad, the back of a magazine, even a napkin.. I just recommend that you DO NOT use that gorgeous, expensive journal for this specific purpose.
People tend to want to keep pretty journals really “pretty”. Use that pretty journal for recording bits of gratitude or for future messages to your kids. The type of journaling I’m describing here is a “brain dump”. This can potentially be messy, ugly, nitty-gritty healing work. Use the cheap spiral bound notebook to release those random thoughts, mental clutter, and raw emotions.. it can be messy work, so allow yourself to get messy! You will feel lighter, more focused, and less stressed when you do.
Lastly, as I stated before, I am no psychotherapist. The journaling I describe here is a simple tool to help calm and center and balance an average, lightly stressed, healthy person. If you are experiencing unhealthy thoughts or symptoms of any kind, please seek professional help immediately.
I’ve had many clients use this technique with great success. I’ve personally used this practice for years with success. Try it… I’d love to know how this form of journaling works for you!
Love, Cam xox0