6 Subconscious Journaling Techniques
CategoriesPsychology / Relationships / Self-Improvement / Subconscious mind
Until last year, I viewed journaling as a very adolescent, even juvenile thing to do. I know, right?! I’m kicking myself now!
Journaling reminded me of the diary I kept when I was a teen; when I had loads of new emotions and situations that needed venting.
Ultimately I grew up and my diary began collecting dust. It merely represented feeling vulnerable with all that mess on paper. And as I got older, I never wanted to feel that way again.
My adult self learned how to handle all the things that crossed my path. You know, wisdom and experience and all that…so why would I need to revisit the written expression associated with teenage angst?
Most of what I knew about myself, or thought I knew about life, became an analytical, sometimes critical perspective I’d formed within my conscious mind.
Journaling came into my life at a crossroads when I realized I was out of touch with many of my emotions and shoved them down to focus on the problem to be analyzed, but emotions are more complex than that.
Our lives are built on layers, with emotions connecting those layers. Much of what’s in our subconscious mind is connected to an emotion so consciously analyzing everything isn’t the answer.
So I began journaling when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. This, which ultimately led to losing him, was all new to me. New experience. New feelings. A perfect time to discover journaling.
Journaling became a window into my inner life; a profound tool for self awareness.
Now that I’m wiser and more experienced than my teen self, instead of a mess on paper, I see patterns from the past and how they show up in the present. Becoming aware of these patterns has changed my life!
Why access the subconscious mind?
The subconscious mind works in patterns- it’s our automatic behavior. That’s why we have the same triggered reactions to the same things. It’s why 90% of what you thought about yesterday, is the same today.
You access the subconscious mind to bring awareness to those patterns. Your task then is to ensure the old patterns associated with bad habits or past wounds and trauma will not repeat.
Essentially when you are not aware of what patterns fill your subconscious, you’re letting them repeat even though this is as destructive as reliving and reviving the past.
Uncovering what’s in your subconscious with these journaling techniques for instance, brings awareness to your conscious mind so that you’ll be on the look-out for how these patterns play out in your life presently.
The other day, I had a conversation with a family member. The person went on and on about what I could do, what more I should do concerning the topic of discussion.
And I realized this was a voice and pattern from my past that led me to burn-out, doing far too much and controlling more than what was humanly possible. If I hadn’t done the subconscious work, I wouldn’t have recognized the pattern from the past- that critical voice that always made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough so I’d over-extend myself and break down physically or mentally.
I stopped. I breathed. I ended the conversation with, “I’m doing the best I can.” I felt at peace, knowing I am doing the best I can. And in that moment, I changed my future so that pattern won’t get past me again!
That click, that spark of awareness is sometimes all it takes!
The Subconscious mind and journaling:
The art of writing, story-telling, and doodling are very subconscious activities.
“Our conscious mind compartmentalizes our perspective so strongly that we only get glimpses of the subconscious world. I believe that there is a whole dimension that I wouldn’t call supernatural but subconscious…When you have the intuition that there is something which is there, but out of the reach of your physical world, art is the only means to get to it… ” Guillermo del Toro (Writer, Actor, Film maker, Artist)
Journaling helps connect us to the layers between our conscious mind and subconscious. It uncovers our limiting beliefs and the patterns around them.
Some of those beliefs and patterns affect your life in profound ways yet you may not even be aware of them.
You don’t know why you fail so you doubt yourself. You don’t even try to do some things because you already believe you can’t. You know yourself as one way and any change seems impossible. And you try to figure all of this out consciously, systematically, and analytically.
If you try to resolve your problems consciously, you’re basically letting the self-critic run your life. It tells you to do this or that and when you don’t or can’t, you belittle and criticize yourself.
When you access and utilize the power of your subconscious, your subconscious mind and your conscious mind are in sync and begin working together to achieve a common goal.
You will BELEIVE that it will happen and that belief is everything!
When I began journaling, it was mostly connecting the dots between my old wounds and my present problems. Old wounds that become present problems are displayed through our triggers.
All present problems are related to an early experience of it and 100% of your experiences from birth to now, are recorded in your subconscious mind.
Journal prompt: For instance, you could get deeper with this by journaling about a big unpleasant reaction or emotion you experienced recently (perhaps a trigger). Journal about your earliest memory of that emotion or reaction. When did you first experience that? Or when can you remember first feeling this way? Write about that memory. How and when does it show up in your life now?
6 Subconscious Journaling Techniques:
Remember, write freely, quickly and don’t censor yourself!
- The Springboard: Write a word (associated with your problem or goal) vertically down the left side your page. Then write a sentence that starts with each letter. The key is not thinking too much about it- overthinking is all conscious mind activity.
Add more joy to my life.
Learn to be nicer to myself.
Individual approach to healing myself.
No is a sentence.
Give others love without giving all of myself.
2. The Sentence Stem: These are fill-in-the-blank, thoughtful sentences you can gather online or create yourself, based on a problem or goal in any area of your life.
For example: “I am someone who…” Fill in the rest, whatever comes to mind, and write to your heart’s content. No perfect grammar. No censoring.
“If I weren’t afraid, I would…”
“Eating healthier would be easier if…”
“I will know when my inner wisdom/intuition is speaking to me when…”
“The thing I am most worried about is…”
“I have trouble sleeping because…”
For kids: “If I could be king or queen for a day…(If I were president..since we’re in an election year)”
3. Nature Writing: Go outside (which is therapy in itself 🙂 ) and see what catches your eye- perhaps a tree, a bird, a butterfly, a cloud, a leaf, the rain…and begin writing for 10-15 min. as if you are that thing. How do you experience life as that object? How do you view the world? What means the most to you? You’ll likely see parallels in your life and gain additional insight.
4. Doodling: I am no artist, but these journaling techniques were probably the most helpful and enlightening for me. Plus, it doesn’t have to be gallery-worthy art. the key is drawing it quickly. Furthermore, you can tap into the feelings that arise as you draw your images. When you finish drawing, you can write out your thoughts about it too.
- Draw a doodle that symbolizes your inner wisdom or inner wise one.
- Create a doodle that symbolizes your inner child.
- Bilateral drawing: A technique that actually relieves stress immediately, eases anxiety, and stabilizes mood. Draw with your left and right hand at the same time. Draw the same image with both hands at the same time. Free write about third image afterwards.
- Draw a black dot or circle in the middle of a blank page. Then describe it. Your description subconsciously represents the dark spots in your life. But also note, the dark spot is small in comparison to the light of the space on the page around it (the good stuff in your life).
5. Write about your dreams: Dreams are very connected to your subconscious mind. They’re a mechanism for venting whatever is going on in your life.
The next time you remember a dream, choose the top 2-4 prominent aspects of that dream. It could be a red purse, a beaded necklace, and a convertible car. Upon waking, write these down and write as if you were that item in your dream…how you felt…what you thought your role (as the item) was in the dream, etc. Write from the perspective of the things you remember about the dream.
This will give you insight into several aspects of what your subconscious may be processing currently.
6. Conversation and Dialogue with yourself: Examples of this are:
- Put your hand on your heart, close your eyes, and imagine someone that embodies loving kindness, care and support for you. Sometimes this is a grandparent (alive or passed) or even an archetypal or religious figure such as Buddha, Kwan-yin, or Jesus. Imagine that person or being, wanting the absolute best for you; loving you, understanding your heart and soul. Get a sense of this and imagine the energy from that person or being, flowing through your hand. Now lower your hand and begin writing a letter to yourself, full of compassion, wisdom, and understanding.
- Write a letter to your childhood self or have your childhood self write a letter to you as an adult.
- Write a letter to your inner critic. Perhaps it develops into a dialogue. Tell your inner critic what you want; what you intend. How does the inner critic respond?
- Begin a dialogue with your pain or discomfort.
- Write a letter from your problem or goal, to you or from you to your problem or goal.
Writing in your non-dominant hand is another way to access your subconscious. You can do this by asking yourself a question; something you really want to know, and then freestyle writing the answer for 5-10 min. in your non-dominant hand.
Why journaling? Traditional therapy and analyzing your problems is a very conscious-mind endeavor. Therapy is wonderful support, but typically you will talk about what you think your problem is. When you think you “know” your problem, that’s merely your analytical, conscious mind taking the wheel.
The benefits of journaling:
- Promotes gratitude
- Improves communication skills
- Manage emotions
- Removes blocks
- Tracks behavior patterns
- Solve problems
- Release negative emotions
- Relieve stress
- Powerful reflection
- Sets your intentions
- Spurs creativity
- Records your personal story
Journaling can be a therapeutic, soothing, and sacred practice.
Be sure to be as natural and relaxed as you can when journaling. The quicker you write and the more flow you experience while writing, the more subconscious uncovered.
By accessing your subconscious mind and becoming aware and in sync with it, you can be sure to take back control of your life, achieving your goals and resolving limiting habits and behaviors.
Peace & Be Well,
This post was as amazing as I knew it would be! I love the Springboard writing idea and the Sentence Stem idea. I love the idea of writing to your childhood self. Journaling has helped me so much! Like you, I at first thought of it like keeping a diary when I was 12, lol. But, everyone should do it. Sometimes you just need to do a brain dump. I do that when I can’t fall asleep.
Thanks Amanda! So glad you enjoyed this. Your feedback means so much. Yay for us getting past that “block” and association of journaling with our tween or teenhood 🙂 Great point about a good brain dump when you can’t sleep. I write in mine before bed periodically and I bet that helps with sleep!