There’s a saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got.” or there’s a shorter version, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” As much as I dislike trite sayings, they always seem to sum things up succinctly. Though, we usually don’t understand exactly what they mean until we have integrated the experience from which the quotable quote comes.
Journaling is one of the most powerful & immediate methods for making personal behavior changes. Journaling allows us to go back and review our reactions when we are less emotional. Through journaling we can see our patterns and take constructive steps to “change” those behaviors.
When we are triggered emotionally, we do not think, we merely re-act. Our reasoning mind hit’s the “pause” button and we default to a survival state. Here our actions are controlled by our subconscious mind which selects from memory a method in which to cope with our emotional reaction. These behaviors are often either fight or flight. We can withdraw, no longer choosing to interact or we may engage, becoming aggressive in an attempt to back the other individual down. Either way, we later find our self unsatisfied with the situation and how we handled it.
Our subconscious mind responds from what it has been previously trained to do. Thus, it is important to realize that for every action there is an instant and equal reaction.
“If nothing changes, nothing changes, ‘therefore, should we decide to react differently to this situation, we must place new memories in the subconscious mind, creating a more diversified selection. This must be done prior to a reaction, as the subconscious mind will not “think about it” rather it will instantly select a behavior from memory.
This can be easily done, as the subconscious mind is not logical it does not discriminate between real and imagined situations. Think about when you are in a movie theater and you know that everything you are watching is on a screen and therefore, of no direct physical harm to you. Never the less, when the alien monster leaps towards the camera, we all have a tendency to startle and pull away. Even though the conscious mind knows it is false, the subconscious mind responds as if it is real. Thus, we can use the imagined to place new memories within our own subconscious.
Journaling for Transcending Reactive Behaviors
RESPONSE = responsibility
(The ability to respond)
Framing: In the margins, create a frame around the page by writing the subject matter, i.e.: argument, feelings of inadequacy, frustration, parents, etc.
Bottom Line: Leave approximately two inches open at the bottom of each page. This is to allow you to return at a later date and make personal comments or sum up the situation.
Using framing and the bottom line break-up the text and take the psyche to a more creative space where you will find yourself better able to see things from a new perspective. You do not need to frame every page but I recommend your use these techniques when you are being too logical.