Gong Song

Blog, Guidance, relaxation

I’m in a candle-lit church in London’s trendy borough of Hackney, surrounded by a wonderful array of unique individuals some in yoga-wear, some straight from the office, some in bright hippie print materials. We lie scattered on our mats surrounding the 4 huge circular metal gongs and various metal bowls, awaiting our sound-healer to begin weaving her magical sound-scape.

A light-footed young woman with fair hair introduces herself (Kat Bumble) with a soft accented voice. We close our eyes, as the sounds begin. First a single high-pitched ting of Tibetan bells, followed by the etherial hollow echo of the himalyan siging bowls… and then a slow, soft rumble, as the gongs begin to shimmer their vibrations over every person, swallowing us in a tsunami of cascading weightless waterfalls.  The sounds come in waves… the gentle cresendo lifting and dissolving me, clearing space within me.

Every few minutes, my body takes a long deep cleansing breath, releasing and opening further each time. The slow rhythmic breath of the man lying next to me reminds me that I am sharing this space with many others and that each of us will be having our own very unique and individual experience.

Since first feeling the vibrations of the gong lifting me almost a year ago at a yoga retreat (SoulClarityMovement) I have become a huge fan of listening to online sound meditations. It’s one thing listening to a recording on my own, but being in the presence of the live music, in a location with great acoustics and being surrounded by beautiful, like-minded people takes things to the next level.

The harmonious tones continues on for another half an hour or so… Then as the sounds of the gongs begin to wane, I get up into a seated mediation. Kat is playing some sort of bellowes.  Then to my surprise, her voice, exquisitely shrill and precise, makes sounds I have only heard on documentaries. It’s called overtone singing and originated in Mongolia.

The sound of her voice has me hypnotized and entranced. It is like the call of  the wilderness, mountains and desert.

For more info on gong baths:

www.psychedelicsociety.org.uk

Soulclaritymovement.com 

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…Creating a sacred space at home…

Guidance

When I meditate, I usually just sit on a chair, the floor or the bed and go into practice. But occasionally, I set up a sacred space. What does this mean?

For me, I don’t have much space in my small flat to dedicate a somewhere permanently, so I create a makeshift altar using my coffee table. I clear it of everything, and empty the room of clutter as much as possible. I bring a few items which hold significance for me personally: –

  • a candle, which represents the light I carry inside me;
  • some crystals and a plant, which for me, represent the beauty and power of the earth. Two of the crystals are gifts from my brother and my sister, so those remind me of the love of family;
  • some incense or essential oil, which can help to engage my senses and release emotion;
  • my small Buddha statue, this little figure sitting in cross legged posture reminds me of my intention to cultivate a peaceful state …
  • Tibetan bells, which again engage my senses, and create a beginning and an end to a meditation;
  • Reiki symbols, these are symbols I paint in the air with my hand, to bring in the healing energy of Reiki (yes that Reiki post is on its way…!). Some of the symbols are of Buddhist origin and some are of Shinto origin;
  • a cushion or 3 so my bum doesn’t get sore!

Whether you are meditating or praying, you can set up a sacred space to help you gain focus and clarity to your practice. Other items could include photos of loved ones, a beautiful landscape, an image or representation of a goal you would like to achieve (a miniature car for example if your goal is to pass your driving test), flowers or even play a piece of music which holds meaning for you. Small water fountains or a piece of fruit can also be useful. Sometimes I also use Post-it notes with words written on them to help make my intentions more tangible (patience, forgiveness, acceptance etc.)

Your meditation space does not have to be at home if you don’t feel comfortable there. You can take your items to a park, or to a friends place where you feel comfortable and welcome. The woods is one of my favourite places, which might be obvious from the amount of tree pictures on here!

Once you have your space ready, the only thing left to do is decide what you will pray for, meditate on, give gratitude for or begin manifesting!

…Volunteering…

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volunteering loveyourself

volunteering jennikaargent loveyourself

My first experience with volunteering was on 1st January this year at the Whitechapel Mission. Slightly hungover and very tired from the New Year celebrations, myself and a few friends drove in the dark at 6am to begin the morning kitchen shift. We cooked porridge, eggs and other breakfast foods in a hot, sweaty kitchen, then served up the goodies to the customers, most of whom are homeless.

This was the spark that led me to finding a more regular volunteering role. I decided that I would like to offer something more specific than my cooking and cleaning skills. I had recently gained a Level 2 Reiki Healing certificate and thought it would be a great way to put it into practice. So I searched the internet for ‘reiki volunteer’. I wasn’t sure I would find anything, but 2 vacancies came up. I promptly got in touch and, to my surprise, I was called in for an interview at the Royal Trinity Hospice.

As with any interview, I was extremely nervous. I had no experience whatsoever of hospices or of giving reiki to anyone other than friends and family, let alone bereaved or terminally ill patients, but something had pulled me to apply. To my surprise, I received a phone call a week after the interview to say I had been offered a volunteer position on the Complimentary Therapy team! I really had no idea what kind of commitment I was making; hours and hours of training, meetings, online NHS occupational health training, shadowing other therapists, cancer awareness training (provided by Macmillan), Sage & Thyme (how to deal with emotional distress), passing CNHC verification, getting DBS checked, arranging insurance. From the interview in January, I was fully up and running with regular sessions by April. A process which took 4 months!!

So what’s it like volunteering? I’m sure it varies depending on where and how you volunteer, but the Royal Trinity team have been very supportive and welcoming, yet at the same time given me the space and trust to let me get on with my role independently. I’ve been given the opportunity to get involved with the relaxation/meditation groups and lead them from time to time. In this way I got to know some of my patients, interact, build trust and rapport before offering treatments. It has also given me the chance to learn new skills related to relaxation, meditation, communication and observation, as well as being allowed to hear very personal accounts of what it’s like dealing with terminal illness and death, which is something I have very little personal experience of, so it’s really important for me to tune in and listen to what my patients are feeling in order to better understand what it is they are going through. Witnessing someone going through a struggle and helping them get through the other side of a dark tunnel with a new found inner strength is a really rewarding and inspiring process to be a part of.

My office at the hospice! 

Here is a brief summary of the benefits volunteering has given me:

  • the opportunity to practice my chosen skill (reiki)
  • the opportunity to learn and develop new skills (meditation, experience with emotionally vulnerable individuals)
  • the feeling of giving something back to my community (if you believe in Karma, this one’s for you)
  • helping others in need has helped me develop a sense of personal empowerment
  • I’ve made new friends and been inspired by both therapists and patients alike
  • Building self-confidence.

If you are interested in volunteering, there are so many ways you can get involved, from befriending, to gardening, to web design, to teaching, hairdressing etc.. Whatever skill you have, it’s likely something you can offer. How often you offer it is really up to you. I visit the hospice on a weekly basis, since Reiki is usually given as a course of treatments over a few weeks, but I also attend ‘feel good’ days where I offer mini taster treatments for those who have never experienced Reiki before. You could start with a one off like I did and see how you go!

And if you are wondering what Reiki is… well that’s a whole other post. Which is coming soon! Watch this space…

 

Yoga vs Exercise

Guidance
LoveYourself Jennika Argent

Mermaid Pose Yoga

I’m by no means an expert in yoga… far from it. But I have been practicing basic yoga for many years alongside other forms of exercise, and in my experience, there is a fair difference between how I feel during and after yoga, compared to during and after ‘exercise‘ (note, I am not talking about playing a sport here, but pure exercise).

Yoga, generally starts with a short meditation and sun salutations… so looking inside and outside of one’s self, to give thanks to the life-giving sun. Each sun salutation begins and ends with hands in prayer position over the heart, where our truth lies. The salutations repeat in a flowing movement, using the whole body. The movements help us open ourselves to receive higher wisdom and knowledge. The only way in which this is similar to exercise, is that it is a warm up.

Exercise, by contrast, can have a different intention, and although most of us do it to stay fit and healthy, it can sometimes compartmentalise our bodies into separate areas (legs day / legs, bums and tums), which are targeted/judged for improvement, almost bringing about a feeling of dissatisfaction and non-acceptance of our bodies as a whole.

Whilst practicing yoga, I feel as if I am giving thanks for my body… like an expression of gratitude, a bit like a dance… whereas with exercise, it can sometimes feel like a bit of a chore, something I have to slog my way through.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy many different forms of exercise, as well as jogging, swimming, cycling and using weights. Sometimes, my body really just wants to jump around aerobic-style to loud music, to shake off the stress of the day. No doubt whichever form of exercise we choose, it will likely be of benefit to our health… but its important to connect with how it affects our minds, thoughts, self-perception and emotions.

I would encourage you, next time you do exercise, in whichever form it might be, to take note of how you feel before, during and after. Just become aware of what thoughts are going through your mind – are you loving and accepting your body with gratitude, or are you annoyed at it and wishing it were different?

…Space to Change…

Guidance

You know the old sayings ‘a leopard never changes its spots’ and ‘old habits die hard’ when referring to a person never being able to change? Well scrap that because PEOPLE CHANGE ALL THE TIME… I have changed so many times I have lost count, even over the past year, I carry on changing my mind about stuff, learning and growing in small but significant ways.  Even stuff I wrote last year on this blog, I cringe at parts because I have already changed since writing it.

“A thug changes, and love changes, and best friends become strangers” NAS

The biggest change I ever experienced came about when I went travelling for a year. I went alone. I left everything behind me, my job, my friends, my family, my ex, my flat, my phone, my ipod – even my identity and old behaviours. I was free to experiment with a NEW ME. I changed the scenery, the environment, the people I was hanging out with, the music I was listening to, the food I was eating. I changed EVERYTHING. The main reason I was able to change was because these new people had no expectations of me to be the OLD ME.

The problem sometimes is that we don’t allow ourselves and others the SPACE TO CHANGE. We have expectations of our friends and when our friends don’t act as we expect, it can really throw us off and make us feel uncomfortable. How many times have we said one of the below phrases to a friend:

“but that’s not like you…”

“you would never do that”

“since when do you [insert new behaviour]”

When we say stuff like this, we reinforce an idea of that person not being able to change, and one of the most important things in life which has enabled us to adapt and survive, is that we are able to change. Being able to change our minds on an issue for instance. Check out this video of a reformed racist. That’s a massive change of heart he had!!

Having a ‘big, soft, open mind‘ allows us to be flexible and adaptable to change our thoughts and ideas about ourselves, and gives us space to discover new aspects of ourselves, and the world around us.

I would invite you today to notice change in yourself and others, and when you see it, perhaps try and welcome it with a friendly curiosity. Is there anything you would like to change about yourself? If so, how might you go about changing it?

 

 

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…Counting Breaths …

Guidance
loveyourself mindfulness jennikaargent countingbreaths

loveyourself mindfulness jennikaargent countingbreaths

Sitting in a hot Epsom salt bath one evening, I began to feel a little uncomfortable. I wanted to stay in there for longer, so I could get the full benefit of the salts, but I felt restless and not all that relaxed. I decided that I would at least stay in there for 50 breaths. Why I chose this number or method I don’t know. All I know is that it seemed like a good number.

I began to count my breaths. As I did this, I watched the steam weightlessly lifting from the surface of the water. My breaths naturally slowed down. It seemed to take much longer than expected to reach 50, but I reached that number, and during that time I had managed to enjoy a lot more of the bath than before I started counting.

I applied it to a few journeys into and out of work, and realised it was an great form of meditation practice. The great part is that the second you lose count, you know that you lost concentration and come back to the breath. So in order to keep count, we really have to stay with the breath and not get lost in thinking.

Months later and I am reading  a book about Zen. I find it is actually a real technique practiced in Buddhism and mindfulness which I didn’t know about.

A couple of weeks ago, I reached exactly 650 breaths from train platform to train platform on a journey across London (I take roughly 10 breaths per minute, so the journey was some 65 mins). It wasn’t actually that hard – but what was hard, was not responding to texts, since it was VERY difficult to respond and keep counting.

If you have never tried this, then why not try now? Perhaps starting with 10, and building it up slowly. Even if you never reach 10, just by realising you have lost count, you are practicing mindfulness of the breath. Congratulations! Let me know how far you get before you lose count…

 

Taking time for yourself

Guidance

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The average Londoner works around 45 hours per week, with some working up to 70 hours plus… often in jobs we don’t really love. According to Forbes, for every happy employee, there are two unhappy ones. So taking time for ourselves, is more important now than it ever has been….

I currently work 3 days a week and have done for the past 15 years or so. People often say to me ‘wow, you’re so lucky’ or ‘is that because you have kids?’. Well, no, I don’t have kids, I just value my time more than I value money. And as Dizzee Rascal says: I don’t need a reason!

You might be curious what I do in the 4 days a week I have to myself. It’s pretty varied, but it generally consists of two things:

  1. JUST BEING ME… at work I have to dress and act a certain way. On my days off, I do exactly as I please. I paint, draw, practice yoga, exercise, meditate, learn piano, volunteer at a hospice etc. etc. the list goes on but I wont bore you with it.
  2. DOING THINGS AT MY OWN PACE…. I don’t enjoy feeling rushed. I prefer taking my time and doing things slowly. I know this isn’t the lifestyle for everyone, but I’ve certainly found a balance that works for ME.

How I came to find this balance was not so pleasant though. Many years back, I was at university full-time, working every evening, and fitting in course work at the weekends, as well as getting my first mortgage. It all started to become too much for me, with no social life and no time to relax. I ended up mentally crashing and suffered with a bout of depression and a break-down. It was severe for a few months but eventually I found support in the form of counseling, meditation, self-help books, healing therapies (reiki, acupuncture, reflexology) and physical exercise. I realised that I had not invested any time at building my inner-strength, nor spent enough time building supportive friendships. After making a full recovery and finally completing my degree, I decided I would work part-time and have more time for myself, cooking meals from scratch, going for walks in the woods, massaging my feet and doing things that I really love, like photography and drawing.

For a while I felt guilty for taking this time for myself. But life is a balance, no matter what area you look at: food, exercise, work, relaxation, time with family and friends. Too much or too little of any one thing is usually bad news. As a kid, I remember my father asking me at the end of every day “were you industrious today?!” and I remember feeling a little awkward at not having “achieved” anything special that day, but what he probably meant was ‘did you put in 100%?’  setting personal boundaries.And yes, I did put in 100%, both at school and at play. Society can be very goal-oriented, and although goals are a great way of achieving what you want in life –  those goals need to be the right kind of goals for YOU. So I made it my goal to feel happy, relaxed and take time for myself!

If you think you could do with some time for yourself then make it your goal, find a way to set some time aside and really enjoy it 100% without feeling guilty or feeling like you should be doing something else. Taking time for ourselves is just as important as working and earning money. Putting yourself first and making sure you have enough time for yourself means you can then put 100% of yourself into your goals, whether its building that business or caring for others.

You might like to check out this video which can help you understand about setting personal boundaries

 

 

 

 

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Mindful Magic

Guidance

meditationjennikaargent

I started meditating in January of 2015 in a very intuitive way as a response to dealing with a tough situation, and it really did help me through. Then 8 weeks ago, I decided I would dive a little deeper and go for a more formal practice in the way of a class. I wasn’t sure the class was for me, but I had been recommended it and I do love a recommendation, so in I went.

Week 1 and I am sitting in a quiet room with 16 others. We are each given a raisin and asked to look at it as if we had never seen it before… we smell it, touch it, squeeze it, listen to it. 10 minutes into the exercise, I squeeze the crinkly brown thing between my fingers, hearing it let out a funny little squelch. I chuckle, which quickly turns into fits of giggles. I do my best to suppress my laughter so as not to ruin the experience for anyone else. I’m not sure anyone else is finding it as funny as I am. Even just holding the raisin to my ear feels funny. We are then asked to place the raisin in our mouths. I really don’t want to after I heard it squelch, but in it goes. The depth of flavour is intense – almost like I have never really tasted a raisin before.

One of the foundations of mindfulness, is that when you do something, whatever it is, do it fully. So, if giving my attention fully to tasting the raisin made its flavour more intense, imagine what other activities could be enhanced!? You see, had I been thinking about other stuff (getting caught up in past memories or future worries/imaginings etc.) I would likely not have really tasted the raisin to such a degree. The same will apply for when you are reading this article… are you really reading it, or are you thinking, eating, texting at the same time?

Before week 1 is even over, I notice how light hearted I have become and how much more I am laughing and having silly thoughts that set me off.

Week 2 and we are on to the 40 minute body scan, this means bringing awareness to the breath and the various parts of the body, segment by segment, and just acknowledging any sensations we find there without judgment or assessment. A lot of the group find this particularly challenging to sit for 40 minutes solid, since some are dealing with chronic pain, back aches and other disabilities. Mindfulness asks you to simply observe your pain or discomfort, whatever form it comes in, and be with it, instead of wishing it was not there. Not fighting it, but approaching it with a friendly curiosity. Confronting our pain takes a certain degree of courage, but can actually help change our relationship with our bodies, and with our pain, sometimes with dramatic effect. Not only do we have a 40 minute practice each day, but we intersperse it with smaller 3 minute sessions of focusing awareness on the breath, which I find fits in nicely with my toilet breaks! =D

We have also been asked to keep a pleasant experiences diary. This is pretty easy since there are a lot of them, from having an aromatic bath to drinking a silky smooth hot chocolate. On discussing our pleasant experiences in the group setting, we come to realise that a pleasant experience can soon turn into an unpleasant experience when we try to hold on to that pleasant experience and don’t want it to end.

Week 3 and we are exploring mindful movement, it’s like a very gentle form of stretching and exercise. I am used to quite rigorous exercise at a much faster pace, so its interesting to feel the difference when things are done at a much slower pace. The recording suggests that I lift my arm as if grabbing an apple. As I hold my arm in the air, I feel a cool breeze passing over my hand (no windows are open, this is just my internal reaction to holding my hand in the air – try it see what you feel!). I bring my hand back down to my side and feel my hand instantly go very hot like its being filled up with hot water, it carries on pulsating heat for quite a while. It’s such a strange sensation if you take the time to notice it. We also try walking mindfully, slowly sensing each footstep and really taking the time to walk and only walk. The biggest pleasure I find is to set myself free from doing anything else but walking. And this can be applied to whatever you are doing at any point!

I notice during this week that I am starting to have a greater capacity for sitting still. I have always struggled with sitting to draw, but now, what started as a rough sketch has turned into quite an intricate, detailed little drawing.

Week 4 and the group is really making progress, which is heartening to see. Progress can sometimes mean simply being kinder to yourself, instead of judging a situation or wishing things were different. For instance, when you feel you may have failed at the formal practice of keeping awareness of the breath (perhaps because thoughts kept plaguing your mind) seeing it as a failure is certainly a judgment of sorts. When actually those thoughts allowed an opportunity to become mindful once again when we see where the brain wandered and return to the present moment.

“Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. How endlessly delightful and encouraging.”
Bob Sharples, Meditation and Relaxation in Plain English

We are also starting to recognise our patterns of aversion; the tactics the mind uses to try and convince us that sitting quietly and being present and aware is of no use, a waste of time, that we could be doing something more productive. I found I was falling asleep during practice, so I made a decision to meditate earlier in the day and sit up rather than lie down.

Meditating is a bit like taking a naughty dog for a walk. The dog is your mind, and if you give that dog a long leash, it will drag you around the houses and tie you up in knots. If you shorten that leash and keep an eye on the dog, you have a better chance of enjoying your walk.

Week 5 and we are asked to meditate on our thoughts and especially difficult or painful ones. This may seem like the opposite of meditating, since people have this idea that meditation means total obliteration of thoughts. But the point here is to observe the thought and then notice the corresponding feeling that arises in the body. Having practiced the body scan in week 2 makes it easy to now observe the sensations which arise as a result of the thought. I have had a particularly difficult situation this week (just in time for this practice!). I use it as a trigger and see what happens in my body when I think of it. I bring the thought to the forefront of my mind and dive into it. At first there is a heaviness in my heart followed by a squeezing pain in my chest, which rises quickly up through my neck and into my face, resulting as burning tears. It’s fascinating to watch my body’s reactions to my mind’s thoughts. Mindfulness allows us the space to observe.

I notice during this week, I have managed to find the courage to start a big painting, which I had been putting off. I find painting very daunting since in the past I have struggled with mixing colour, finding plain old biro sketches a lot easier to work with. The painting wont be finished for a little while yet, but when it is, I promise I’ll post it here for you to see =)

Week 6 and we are asked to take note of the top 10 negative thoughts we have during the day, then note how much belief we have in those thoughts. I honestly didn’t think I had many, since I’ve already put a fair amount of time into weeding them out and replacing them with more positive affirmations. However, it takes me a whole week to get the hang of noticing the subtle ones, since they can be so fleeting like trying to catch a puff of smoke. Yes, I still have thoughts about not being good enough, capable enough, or trusting my own decisions etc. but my belief in those thoughts is actually very low since I know just how capable I can be through past accomplishments. Mindfulness teaches us that thoughts are not facts and that when we observe those thoughts, we can create a space which then enables us the possibility to choose a different perspective.

Week 7 gives us a chance to discuss what works personally for us, since no two people are the same. Mindfulness is another tool in our kit and aside from the formal practice of sitting and meditating, we can bring it into practically any situation. For instance, having a mindful conversation, where we really listen, allowing for gaps in the conversation for words to digest. When I listen mindfully, I notice that I push my questions aside, and really listen. Or mindfully reading; did you manage to take note of whether your mind wandered whilst reading? I find that mindfulness for me, in a lot of ways, means slowing down a touch.

The final week is here and we are all wondering how we will go forward with our meditation practice. We watch a video on the course we have just completed, and strangely, watching the people in the video meditate, I notice for the first time how powerful they look. Like they are really in control of their lives. Like nothing can shake them. And if there is any motivation for carrying on the practice, for me it is to achieve this level of strength and stability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eye Contact Experiment

Guidance

eye-gazing eye meditation eye-contact

I received an invite to ‘the Worlds Biggest Eye Contact Experiment‘ yesterday (which is on 15th October in Trafalgar Square if you would like to attend). Having practiced eye-gazing meditations before, it brought back a memory of how profound an experience it was and how you can have such a profound experience with just one other person, irrespective of where you are. Eye meditations can be done with your partner, your friend or a member of your family… or even, as with the above experiment, a complete stranger.

Discussing this last night with my flatmate, we decided to give it a go. The event suggests just a 1 minute session. My previous sessions had been 10-15 mins long, so I thought 1 minute should be relatively easy going. How wrong was I…..?

Firstly, we sat opposite each other and took a deep breath, decide on which eye to focus on (because you simply cant focus on two eyes at the same time) and then hit start on the timer. As soon as we focused on each others eyes, an automatic smile surfaced, and from that smile we then broke out into fits of laughter, for the whole minute. So we re-set the timer and tried again, only to once again fall about laughing for another minute. After 5 attempts, all ending in giggles, we finally managed to calm down and simply focus on our eyes.

This was a long minute. For the first few seconds, all I saw was the blue of my flatmate’s eye, which was watery from laughter. Then something else happened. The quality of vision changed. My surroundings started to blur, facial features seem to bend and distort and surfaces took on new dimensions. My flatmate appeared to have gone a little transparent and the fabric of reality seemed to shift. There was a communication of energy between us, like unspoken words. I started to see colours around his head, mainly yellow with tinges of greeny blue, moving slowly then across his face. After the minute finished, I explained this to him, whilst still seeing the colours gently pulsating on his face. It then seemed like the most natural thing in the world to keep eye contact, where before it had been so very weird.

I can only ask you to give this experiment a whole-hearted try and find out what you might experience…!

Journaling

Guidance

Journaling

I recently started to read a book called ‘The Artist’s Way‘. It’s about unblocking our creative potential. Some of us think we are not even creative, but everybody is creative in one way or another, it is our very nature… And we are all blocked, to a certain degree, depending on our life experiences. One of the main tools this book uses for unblocking, is to write something called ‘Artist Pages’. Basically, every morning, you write 3 pages of long-hand in a diary (or journal). You can write anything you like. I’ve tried this in the past and never kept up with it, always giving up after a couple of days.

This book requests that you do this for six weeks at least. At first I found it difficult to know what to write, but now on week six, the words are flowing more freely. I never thought I would enjoy something so much. What I have discovered is that this daily diary writing practice has helped me to:

1) record my weird and wonderful dreams – something I have been meaning to do for ages but never got around to;

2) process and engage with my emotions, instead of them being a jumble in my head, seeing them written down on paper gives them a different quality and enables me to view them from a new perspective;

3) review the previous day’s activities and decide what I could have done better;

4) take some time to be grateful for the good stuff that happened yesterday (thanks to Tony Robbins, I also try and find 3 good things I achieved – whether its cheering up a friend, completing a new blog post, or going for a run);

5) be my own best friend. Yes, anytime I have a tough situation, that diary comes straight out and I write to my hearts content, giving myself the balanced advice a good friend would give;

6) vent any anger and resentment I may be holding about the challenging situations I have faced. I do believe that suppressed anger and resentment can be a cause of dis-ease in the body, so finding a way to vent anger, whether through exercise, punching or screaming into a pillow, or as I have found, diary writing, is a good thing;

7) make positive intentions for how I would like my day to go, i.e. ‘today I have a hospital appointment, and instead of being anxious and nervous, I will breathe deeply and give appreciation for the kind doctors and nurses who will look after me.

So there you have it, plenty of positive reasons to write a diary. Hopefully, the people you share your space with will respect your privacy and not trespass into your diary uninvited!

I personally do not even read my own diary, once its written, I leave it there to rest.

Good luck =)