Today I am happy to share an e-mail interview with Mari L. McCarthy. It is all about the power of journaling! Check it out below:
- Why did you decide to start journaling in the first place?
It was for physical therapy purposes only. I had an MS episode where I lost most use of the right side of my body, and I needed to teach myself how to write with my left hand ASAP.
- When did you notice a connection between journaling and how you felt physically, spiritually, and mentally?
Right away. I got started with Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, and the three stream-of-consciousness pages first thing every morning took me on a magical mystery tour. I started hearing rhymes and started writing poetry for the first time in my life. And, I started remembering things from my childhood 60 years ago and experiencing it as if it was happening right now. I was able to process the events through the pages, became aware of how many erroneous thoughts and feelings I was carrying around in my body, and created new thoughts that reduced all kinds of mental, physical and spiritual stress.
- Who do you think could benefit most from journaling daily?
Everyone. We all have had challenging childhoods where we just sucked in everything, including a lot of erroneous thoughts and feelings (I call them issues in our tissues). Journaling provides us the opportunity to understand the origins of our crazy thinking and shows us how to reframe our thought process.
- What advice would you give someone who is just starting on their journaling journey?
Journaling is about facing our fears, learning how to manage our negativity and inner critics, and reclaiming our power. That is monumental behavior change. Take it easy. Journaling is about thinking with your heart and soul. Our overanalytical head has been in change for so long she’s afraid of losing control. My recommendation is to ask your journal a question and then free-write fast until you feel – my favorite 4 letter F word – like stopping.
- What do you think is the biggest roadblock for those who want to make journaling a daily habit and fail to do so?
We are our biggest roadblock. We are experienced in self-sabotage and in having an unhealthy relationship with ourselves. Fear has controlled us since forever, and it is scary and a lot of hard work to explore our inner world. Plus, we were raised to think that alone time is so selfish. It is a totally new experience to work through the pain and heal our wounds.
- Do you prefer to handwrite or type your journal entries? Which would you recommend to those new to journaling?
Pen to paper every day is the only way to get all the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health benefits that are available to you from journaling. Jumping right in and freewriting is a good start. Make sure you breathe and understand that your head (ego, inner critic, other voices…) will go crazy. Writing fast will show them you are in charge.
- Why do you think journaling has such a profound effect on our lives and how we perceive ourselves?
I don’t know. I can only tell you that I have monumentally healed, grown and transformed myself thanks to journaling. I live a compassionate (!) unconditional love-in with myself, and it grows every day. In my first book, Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live, I have results from scientific studies that are researching and monitoring this magical, mysterious self-healing process.
- Aside from journaling, how else do you think writing can help us lead better lives?
Writing is creative self-expression, and we have so much inside of us that we’ve been stuffing down for so long. Writing is giving ourselves permission to be the truly talented (wild and crazy) person we are and share our brilliance with the world.
- What do you think we as writers can learn from our journaling patterns (i.e. the topics we keep coming back to time and time again)?
Besides the therapeutic value journaling has, it gives us great ideas for poetry, essays, characters for fiction writing.
- Aside from journaling, what advice would you give readers eager to live their best lives?
Carve out “ME” (self-care) time every day where you can just be with yourself. We’re great doers and care takers and fixers and…. What we need to do is put ourselves first and work on reconnecting and staying connected to our true self every day.
Mari, thank you for sharing such great advice and insight with my readers! Best of luck with the rest of your blog tour.