Mindful Journaling Helps Process 2020

By Linda Donaldson

Jude Walsh, author and creativity coach, gave a PSB Writing Center Zoom workshop on “Journaling the Pandemic and Its Aftermath” on Tuesday, June 1st that showcased both her writing and coaching skills. Jude guided us through strategies to go beyond simply noting current events, to processing the resulting emotions and challenges.

To counter the overwhelming stress that creates mental and physical symptoms, mindful journaling can calm and clear the mind, release pent up feelings and negative thoughts, rather than simply recording experiences.

Jude described various methods to jump start your writing such as numbered lists – you pick a number – such as Five Things that:

  • Make Me Smile
  • I Miss During Covid
  • I Learned About Myself
  • I Choose to Leave Behind
  • I Plan to Do ASAP

Another strategy is free writing. Just putting pen to paper first thing in the morning and writing whatever comes to mind, or write to a prompt statement – for example, “Right now I feel…”

Next, the “unsent letter” method can open up your emotional floodgates. Write to someone you’re angry with, someone who has passed away, to yourself as a younger you or your future self, or a thank you to someone who made a difference in your life, but whom you never thanked.

Lastly, write about what you are grateful for.  Go into detail and feel the emotions.

Be sure you’re equipped for those sudden inspirations with a portable note-taking kit – notebook, pens, dictation app on your phone – so you can easily write anytime, anywhere.

Post Pandemic we all must emerge with intention – what to embrace and what to release. Jude gave us time to try the list method, the free writing and the unsent letter techniques and share our efforts.

Jude concluded with a Q and A and later emailed participants a list of articles about journaling, a few book recommendations and a list of prompts.

A greatly inspiring and reassuring webinar as we all navigate the end of the lockdown.

Jude Walsh writes memoir, personal essay, poetry and fiction. Her work has been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Before retiring and beginning her writing career, she taught for 33 years, serving students from the preschool to the doctoral level. She is the author of Post-Divorce Bliss: Ending Us and Finding Me (Morgan James Press), a 2020 Indie Excellence Awards Winner and 2020 International Book Awards Finalist. More information is at her website www.secondbloomcoaching.com

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