Mari L. McCarthy
Author & Chief Empowerment Officer of CreateWriteNow.com
Scientists confirm that journaling impacts our physical health in tangible, even quantifiable ways. Our conversation with author Mari L. McCarthy demonstrates the powerful benefits of expressive writing.
Mari is the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of CreateWriteNow.com. She is the multi award-winning author of Journaling Power: How To Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want To Live and Heal Your Self With Journaling Power. She is also the creator of 20+ life-changing Journaling Power eWorkbooks such as Start Changing Your Life, Love Your Body and Take Control of Your Health.
Mari’s work is an inspiration. It was a privilege to talk with her about the ways journaling helps us make peace with our bodies. To learn more, read below to see highlights from our conversation, or listen to our interview on The Power of Journaling.
Before we begin, please note, Journaling.com does not provide medical advice. This conversation is for informational purposes only, and as always, we advise talking with your healthcare provider before making changes to any wellness routine.
Mari’s story is personal. Her sensitive approach to the work she does mentoring and empowering people with chronic conditions comes from her experience living with multiple sclerosis.
By the winter of ‘98, Mari had been living with an MS diagnosis for eight years. She knew her body and her symptoms well at that point, so when she woke up with lost feeling on her right side, she paid attention. This symptom, Mari realized, marked a change in her physical health.
Mari intuited that this symptom would not subside in a few weeks, and she was right. The only palatable choice was to adapt.
“I realized I needed to teach myself to write with my left hand in order to keep working,” she explains. Undaunted, Mari spoke with a woman who referred her to Julia Cameron’s revolutionary book, The Artists Way. It was there she discovered Morning Pages.
Cameron describes Morning Pages, a widely popular journaling technique, as “writing three pages of longhand stream of consciousness first thing in the morning.” Morning Pages bring ideas and concerns to the surface of our minds. The act of writing this way helps us to prioritize thoughts we want to invest energy into and puts unproductive fears and worries into perspective.
Each morning, Mari endeavored to write Morning Pages using her left hand. With a sense of irony, she acknowledges, “I started journaling for physical therapy purposes only.” But quickly she started to note the cadence and rhythm of her words, and she began writing poetry for the first time.
Forgotten memories started turning up on the pages of Mari’s journal. One startling discovery was the recollection that she’d been left-handed as a child. When she entered school, she’d been instructed to use only her right hand. Her mother confirmed this memory was true.
As Mari made more discoveries, she saw journaling as a tool to unlock emotions. She felt it helping her achieve wellness and clarity as well. Mari has been an avid journaler since.
Journaling Opens Communication Lines
In her work supporting clients with a wide range of illnesses, Mari observes that many people do not enjoy a positive relationship with their bodies. She notes that many of us carry thoughts and experiences from childhood that have been internalized and are stuck inside.
Through journaling, new communication lines are established between our brains and our bodies. We become able to converse with our bodies in new ways as we cultivate language that shines a light on how we feel at a physical level.
As this communication grows in depth and precision, we feel our relationship with our bodies strengthen in positive ways.
Cultivate a Peaceful Relationship With Your Body
Mari invites us to use journaling to help connect and communicate with our bodies in a voice that is kind, forgiving, and compassionate. She explains that journaling everyday helps us to see when we aren’t treating ourselves with care.
The following tips from Mari will help foster connectedness and relationship with your physical self.
- Dialogue with your body. Ask how it’s feeling today and listen carefully to its response.
- Approach your body in the spirit of teamwork. Many of us have an adversarial relationship with our bodies. Be mindful of meeting your body with curiosity instead of judgment.
- Write your heart out. It’s okay to rant and rave. Get the garbage out. Give yourself permission to purge. This brave act will decrease stress and facilitate meaningful processing of thoughts and emotions.
- Learn more about Mari’s work on her website Journaling for the Health of It.
- Listen to my conversation with Mari on our podcast, The Power of Journaling. https://www.journaling.com/interviews/
- Start a healthy dialogue with yourself today.
Mari acknowledges it’s initially difficult to sit down and dialogue with one’s body. It might feel silly at first, and you might feel anger and lack the compassion you aim to achieve. But she assures us that with time we will get there. Developing relationships, even with ourselves, is a slow, deep process. Be gentle with yourself!
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also want to read about our conversation with Leia Francisco in which she talks about writing through challenging life transitions. https://www.journaling.com/articles/write-your-way-through-challenging-life-transitions-with-leia-francisco/