Dr Nanette Bowles Guided Journaling

Guided Journaling

Life Quest Training and Consult

Dr. Nanette Bowles

Years ago, during a Christmas vacation, I noticed that my friend was writing in a journal before she went to bed.   She explained that every night she would write down 3 things she is thankful for and that they could not always be the same thing….that she had to look for things to be thankful for each day so she could write them in later.  Her book was full of things she’d written over the previous year.

As my older and lifelong friend, I’d always looked up to her but also always felt “inferior”.  She’d had a tough early childhood and always seemed quite critical of me.   I think she’d experienced a lot of verbal abuse by her early foster parents.  As we grew older, our visits were reduced to only our birthdays but just preparing for them used to leave me feeling anxious.  I’d get ready, look in the mirror and could almost hear her greeting me with, “What did you do to your hair?”, “Those shoes are huge!”, etc.  I’d heard these kinds of critical comments for so long that they were like a broken record in my mind…one that played really loud in anticipation of the live critique.

As I listened to her that Christmas, I realized that she had changed.  She’d been changing… transforming over time as she was making deliberate steps to becoming a more thankful and positive person.  I also realized that it had been a while since she’d said anything critical to me.  Why hadn’t I realized it?  The record was still playing in my own head.

I’m thankful to say that our friendship is stronger than ever.  She is a much more positive and encouraging person and I broke that negative record a long time ago.  The lesson is so profound though.

Many of us have messages playing in our heads all the time.  Sadly, they are often negative messages that we are not even completely aware of.  But, they silently try to crush our spirit and kill our dreams.  They subtly seep out into our words and actions and contribute to our inaction as they paralyze us with fear.

How do win this battle of our mind?  Here’s just a few things I’ve practiced and taught:

Never, ever, ever say Anything bad about yourself!  Really!  If it comes out of your mouth you need to immediately say 3 positive things about yourself.  My kids and I say, “Drop and give me 3!”  This goes for when you say something negative about someone else too, by the way.  Our thoughts are powerful…but we give them strength when we speak them.  So keep it positive.

Keep an Intentional Journal.  I’ve been working with someone for awhile so has/had a tendency to catastrophize things.  So, I asked him to send me three things each day:

  • I’m Thankful for…
  • I Learned…
  • I Tried…

I’m amazed at how his attitude has shifted over these last few months.


What if you could “change your mind”?  Change the way it perceived things, processes new information, responds to stress, moves you or holds you back.  You can…this is a start.  Be intentional about your decision to make this a part of your daily life then embrace the journey to a new you!