Journaling Power Mindset medicine – A Strong Dose of Self-Love and Empowerment

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I was delighted this spring when I heard that Mari L. McCarthy was due to release a follow-up to her bestselling Journaling Power books, the third in the series. 

Mindset Medicine takes up very much where Heal Yourself With Journaling Power left off.  The final chapter in Heal Yourself was one of my favorite moments in the book.  Mindset Medicine jumps right in to discovering how to love yourself more. 

The new book is revolutionary, as Mari calls you to act on the things most important to you – what you want and deserve.  There is no beating around the bush with Mari’s approach to this book!  So often we put off what we ourselves really want.  In this book Mari helps us identify what we really want and offers tools to help you work on getting those things. 

She reminds us early on to check your assumptions about the things you do that may not be helpful to you.  In my case, a big thing was being ‘always available’ for work now that we are working from home during the pandemic. Once I realized that this was an issue, it became the primary issue in my tissues to improve. 

In Chapter 6: Establish Rock Solid Boundaries Mari calls on us to focus on our personal boundaries.  This is so critical, and if you don’t know where they are, or haven’t set any, it is so easy for others to break through and contribute to your feeling stressed and distracted.  It truly is a gift, a strong medicine when you recognize your boundaries, and you begin to enforce them.  It is not easy – there is much pushback from those who have pushed your boundaries and benefited from it.  Pushing through this is so powerful.

One of my own favorite techniques is found in Chapter 7: Focus on Joy and Laughter and In Chapter 7 Mari inspires us to look at our lives through a lens of joy and laughter.  It is not always easy to laugh at our own lives, especially in these times we are living in.  By focusing on this, however, I find myself finding much more humor and joy in my everyday life, even if the dogs are driving me crazy, or my internet is being disagreeable. 

Mari encourages you to thinking about how you have been a hero to yourself and to others. When was the last time you felt like a hero?  Chapter 9: Celebrate Being A Hero to Others and Chapter 10: What Do I Promise to Do to Be MY Hero is Mari asks you to ask your journal these questions.  The process can feel uncomfortable because it is growth. It made a difference in how I perceive myself.  Reflecting on how I help and make a positive difference my in own life and the lives of others was a very powerful medicine indeed!

At the root of the word ‘journal’ is the idea of a journey.  Recognize this and enjoy the journey of learning and growth.  Mari has thoughts and exercises to help you do just that in Chapter 11: Love the Journey Because You Never Really Get “There”. 

I firmly believe that the best way to grow is to ask and answer good questions.  This is Mari’s focus in Chapter 12: Transforming Your Life by Asking the Right Questions.  Mari offers up some of her own questions for you to consider pondering and encourages you to make your own.  I was able to come up with ten empowering questions about the most important areas of my life – self-love, relationships, and work.  She even has you make an ‘all-star list’ of the top ten questions to ask yourself to keep handy.  The one question that empowers me to look more closely at myself and my growth is, “How am I feeling, and why am I feeling that way?”

Mindset Medicine wraps up with Mari taking you through how to create a Mindset Medicine Mission – a tailor made roadmap to help you chart a course to healing.  Once you have completed the exercises from the previous chapters, Mari instructs to “Paint a picture with words about the ripple effect your self-love will create.” Using the medicine Mari has just administered through the book I think you will find that the ripple effect will cause bigger waves than you could have imagined!

Journaling for the Health Of It

I’ve been interested in journal writing since I was in my late teens because of its free expression, its help as a place to vent and get thoughts and feelings out of my head and on to the paper.  Journal writing helps me contemplate my life, my mind, and my creativity.

I took Mari’s course, “Start Journaling for the Health of It Write Now!” to help expand my journal writing toolkit and to use the exercises to find new perspectives and ideas to keep my writing fresh.  Beginner’s Guides, or starting guides help me, a seasoned journal writer, look at old things, old ways of thinking, and old ways of being in a new way.  I love the freshness they bring to my old writing habit.

By writing through the exercises in the course I certainly got some new perspectives – looking at old habits and listing the lessons I’ve learned from prior successes.  Contemplating these successes has helped me create new good habits for the future.  By seeing how I have overcome obstacles and challenges in the past, I feel more confident that I can meet the obstacles and challenges that now face me.  I went from a couch potato to a half marathon runner, to a consistent member of a local gym, to name one accomplishment I’m proud of.

One particularly important chapter in the course asks you to consider if documentary film makers were to create a highlight reel for the film of your life.  Too often in my own head I only play the blooper reel or the scenes I’d rather have deleted.  This chapter helped me focus on the positive things – challenges overcome, and goals met.

Through Mari’s course I learned that I am a creature of habit (both good and bad) and a creature of routine.  One of the exercises asks you to look ahead to where you will be in one, five, and ten years (the dreaded interview question!). For each time frame I found I was writing that I was doing basically the same things, feeling the same, and going through the same motions.  I answered the chapter a second time, adding consideration if I took one of the habits, one of the goals Mari helped me define in the course.  Looking at just that one goal (reducing my added sugar intake) I could see big changes as I looked forward that one, five, and ten years again.  I was thinner, more aware, more energetic when I looked forward this time.

I was surprised how my life could change with just that one, consistent change.  I imagined then how my life would change if I added other changes and habits.  One step at a time.

The course made me consider goals in a new way.  I’m used to the “SMART” goal setting that, to be honest, I’ve struggled with in the past.  Mari’s idea of doing one small thing every day to help advance toward the goal helped me believe that I could conquer the bigger goal.

At the end of Mari’s course, she asks the journal writer to write a letter to yourself, a letter of encouragement as you start your next chapter.  Despite my history of journal writing, this exercise terrified me.  A letter to myself?  I began to write.  What surprised me was that the letter didn’t contain a whole lot of what I’d considered directly in the course.  My daughter’s words of encouragement, “You got this, Dad,” appeared.  Affirmations giving me permission to feel the feelings I feel, to believe that I am important to my friends and family appeared.  Be brave, I told myself.  Ask.  Always ask.  And of course, love and be kind.

I’ve got this!