The Warm Milk Journal

A nurturing place for people who can't sleep

Guess what my daughter just gave me for Mother’s Day?


A new journal! It is a beautiful little notebook with colorful  flowers on the cover. She brought this to me on the bed this morning just as I had published the previous post about journal writing. How cool is that?!  : )

May 9, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, Heartwarming Stories, Humor, journal writing, Parenthood | , | Leave a comment

Journal Writing: the benefits of keeping different kinds of journals


The benefits of journal writing are many. The ways to use  journal vary. Here are some ideas.

The Recording Journal: This kind of journal is where you chronicle your daily life. I kept this kind of “dear diary” journal most of my life (starting at about age 10). It is really interesting to look back on some of these journals you wrote as a younger version of yourself. You may find that some things don’t change much and you are still anguishing over the same  issues you did as a teenager (finding the right mate, your weight, etc.) You may also see all of the growth that life experience has given you. That is most satisfying. You may find patterns from your life that can give you some kind of insight for your present life. I look back on many of my journals and just feel thankful for the rich life I have had thus far.

The Travel Journal: This is a kind of recording journal but warrants a special book of its own. There is something truly expansive and wondrous about adventure and visiting new places. Your senses come to life as you take in these new experiences. You are taking photos most likely with your camera- so why not record your experiences in writing as well? It will be a wonderful souvenir of your journeys years from now.

The Gratitude Journal: We mention this kind of journal quite a bit here at The Warm Milk Journal. What we appreciate appreciates. It is hard to stay in a negative state of mind if we are focused on the many things we are blessed with in our life. On a daily basis write down things you are thankful for. I started doing this many years ago on my own and also with the guidance of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude (which is never too far from my bedside) . Giving thanks is a wonderful habit and practice to get into.

The Worry Journal: This is another kind journal that comes up a bit here at The Warm Milk Journal. Many of us are losing sleep at night because our minds just won’t shut off the worries. The idea here is to give our minds a place and time to get all the worries out. List the worries. Then perhaps next to each worry write down a solution for it. This can then get us out of that hopeless feeling state. If our minds go back to worrying, gently remind ourselves that we had our “worry time” for now. We can also remind ourselves in this journal that 99% of what we worry about doesn’t happen. We can also play out the “worst case scenario”: if  what we are worrying about really happened, then what? Write it out. Would it really be as bad as our fearful minds have imagined it? On the top of each page of our worry journals we can write: This Too Shall Pass . Whatever is going on in our lives (good or bad) will pass. Life is dynamic. Is does not stand still. That idea alone has given me much comfort.

The Ideas Journal: You never know when you are going to get inspired and have a terrific idea. It is always a good idea to have a little notebook at hand to write down your ideas. I am using some notebooks  I have kept to develop some business ideas. Some of these ideas are quite good and they would have been lost if I had not jotted them down.

The Spiritual Journal: inspirational quotes, affirmations etc. I believe that journal writing helps us connect to our higher power. I often feel the closest to God when I take some quiet alone time with my journal and write. I sometimes write to God or the universe and ask for guidance. Our intuition and inner voice really comes out with this practice.

The Creative Journal: poetry, doodling, stories, anything fun, wacky. No censoring here. Just let your creative and playful spirit come out. This is a really fun kind of journalling experience. To get inspired, check out any of Sark’s books.

The Dream Journal: This can be fun. Have a journal by your bedside and when you first wake up, write down any dreams that you remember. Our dream world is pretty fascinating. Many  common recurring dreams that we have have been interpreted and it is interesting. There are may books on dreams. One good one  I currently have is the second edition of The Dream Encyclopedia by James R Lewis and Evelyn Dorothy Oliver.

May 9, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, creative writing, journal writing, Self-empowerment, Spirituality, The Warm Milk Journal, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Let’s Stop Putting Ourselves Down or why I almost didn’t buy that bathing suit


I bought a real pretty two piece bathing suit today at a nearby surf shop. It fits me perfectly and I feel very good in it.  I had put off buying a new suit for this season for weeks because I kept thinking that I wasn’t thin enough yet and hence, did not “deserve” a new bathing suit. Never mind the fact that I take pretty good care of myself by working out regularly and eating well. I am fit and am at a healthy weight. I still have this weight on my, ahem, backside, that I wish was less than it is. It is just how my body is built and if I let it I can be pretty self-conscious in a bikini.

Why do we do this to ourselves? I could choose to focus on my flat toned stomach and arms and tell myself that “Debra, you go out and get a pretty new suit for your beautiful body. You work hard for your  body and you deserve it”. Instead, I almost did not buy this bathing suit today because I was focusing on my perceived “flaws”.

Remember, what we appreciate appreciates. What we focus on grows. It is up to us whether we talk ourselves up or talk ourselves down.

Hopefully we are choosing to be around people who support us and help us to see  our best in ourselves. My partner was that person for me this morning. He said I look great and encouraged me to get that new bathing suit I’ve been wanting.

Perfection is a tough standard to live by. It would be freeing and a great relief to learn how to be easier and gentler on ourselves. I am learning to do that. As a result, I am sleeping better at night. All those years of sleeplessness and anxiety were greatly attributed to that perfect image of myself that I thought I had to attain.

It is no fun to beat yourself up at night and not sleep just because you are being yourself. No, you are not perfect. Nobody is.

The sooner we can accept that, the sooner we can have peace of mind and a more restful night of sleep.

If you are awake with your journal, go ahead and write down all of the many wonderful qualities that you have:

  1. What do you like about your appearance?
  2. What are some of your abilities that you are naturally good at?
  3. What were some of your best subjects at school?
  4. Think of all the compliments people have given you. Write them down.
  5. How have you helped or made the world a brighter place for someone else today?
  6. What are some achievements that you are most proud of?
  7. Think of all the wonderful, miraculous things that your healthy body does for you

Smile, and know that you are wonderful.

(This post inspired by a chapter called “don’t put yourself down” in Richard Carlson’s book: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff With Your Family, p.70)

Debra : )

May 8, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, Benefits of Journal Writing, Journal Prompts, journal writing, lists, Self-empowerment, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , | Leave a comment

What is working in your life and what is not?


I am at a point in my life (I am 43 years old) where I just don’t feel like I have the time to mess with things, people, or circumstances that are not working for me.

What is working for you? What is not? This is a great journal writing activity.

Ask yourself:

  1. What is important to me?
  2. What is in my life or happening in my life that lines up with my most important values?

These are the things we need to appreciate, thank God and the universe for, and focus on. What we appreciate appreciates! What we focus on grows.

We can then ask ourselves this question for our journal writing:

  1. What is in our lives that is not serving our greater good? (this can be people, things, places, circumstances)
  2. What is toxic?
  3. What is holding us back?
  4. What is not supporting us?

Once we have identified these negative influences in our lives we can choose to let them go. Write these things down on a separate page in your journal. Then tear it out and burn it in your fireplace. Have a nice letting go ceremony and be done with them already.

Then go back to the page where you wrote about what is working in your life. Ahhh..the stuff that is truly deserving of your time, energy, and attention. Look at that. Focus on those good things , appreciate them and they will be what dominate your life experience. Pretty nice, huh?

Debra : )

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, Journal Prompts, journal writing, Self-empowerment | , , , | Leave a comment

Thank You


Thank you, Warm Milk Journal readers. This blog is a work in progress and I hope that it is helping or inspiring you in some way.

Other things in my life I feel thankful for this evening:

  1. I am thankful for my wonderful supportive, loving, and sexy partner
  2. I am thankful to have a meaningful job where I have the opportunity to positively effect the lives of 46 second graders 180 days of the year
  3. I am thankful for my children who are good at challenging me and humbling me and teaching me what it means to love
  4. I am thankful for my parents who continue to love me and enjoy their lives to the the fullest
  5. I am thankful for my cat Mew who is adorable and is a constant loving peaceful precious presence in my life.

Now it is your turn (time to get out your journals):

I am thankful for:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, Journal Prompts, journal writing | , , , | Leave a comment

15 Journal Writing Prompts


Here are  15  journal writing prompts for you to try today or tonight:

  1. If you were a color, what would you be and why?
  2. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
  3. Where in the world would you like to live if money were no object?
  4. What would be on the top of your administration’s agenda if you were the President?
  5. Describe an ideal day for you.
  6. What is something nobody knows about you?
  7. If you were to deliver a graduation speech to this year’s graduating high school or college seniors, what would you tell them?
  8. Finish this thought: Spring is a perfect time to….
  9. What is one word that means peace to you?
  10. When do you feel the most safe?
  11. When do you feel the most alive?
  12. When do you feel the most excited?
  13. Describe a stressful time in your life when you reacted in a calm and controlled way?(In other words, handled things well?)
  14. What are some things you like to do when nobody is looking?
  15. What is your favorite book right now? Why? What are you enjoying about it?

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, creative writing, Journal Prompts, journal writing | , , | Leave a comment

51 Ways To have crazy, quirky, out of the box fun!


Time to stretch. Time to play. time to get out of ourselves a bit and get adventurous and playful. If you are up and have your journal nearby write some ideas down. What can you do to shake your life up a bit? We need never feel like we are in a rut or bored. Life is dynamic. Life is about change. If we are stagnant and not changing we are not really living! I don’t know what is in store for tomorrow so I want to have fun NOW!

Stretching is good for us. Doing things we don’t ordinarily do. Breaking out of our routines. Using the other sides of our brains.

Just a few ideas to get you started and then in your journal come up with some of your own and then DO THEM!

  1. Jump and dance around your house or apartment and sing at the top of your lungs.
  2. Try a new recipe tonight for dinner or a restaurant you have never been to
  3. Go shopping and buy a new outfit for Spring in colors and a style that you don’t normally wear.
  4. Buy different shades of make up that you don’t normally wear
  5. Buy a different style of shoes
  6. It’s almost summer- get a new bathing suit- something bold and colorful. Perhaps even a bikini!
  7. Buy and wear a new fragrance of perfume
  8. Take a different route to work tomorrow
  9. Play a different radio station during your commute. Try a genre of music you don’t normally listen to
  10. At your gym, try a new fitness class
  11. At your gym, try a piece of equipment you have never used before
  12. Call someone you have not talked to in years
  13. Make a date with someone special: your significant other, a child, a friend, a colleague, a parent. Do something special together
  14. Get some finger paints and pretend like you are in kindergarten. Play, create, get messy!
  15. laugh with abandon for no reason at all
  16. Watch a different kind of movie you don’t normally watch
  17. Eat some chocolate today
  18. “flash” your partner when he or she is not expecting it
  19. hula hoop
  20. play with a yo-yo
  21. in front of a mirror stick out your tongue, make faces at yourself
  22. book a flight and go somewhere you have never been to before
  23. get some new bath oil or bubble bath and enjoy the new scent
  24. get some new candles for that bath
  25. try a new kind of wine tonight
  26. If you are right handed challenge yourself and try to do some things left handed and vice versa
  27. When you encounter a grumpy looking person today smile at them radiantly and wish them a nice day
  28. tickle your kids
  29. do some yoga poses, stretches, tension exercises, dance moves, or martial arts moves on the beach
  30. if you live near a beach, build a sandcastle
  31. If you live near the mountains, plan a camping trip soon and do some things you don’t normally do (cook different kinds of food, play different games, etc).
  32. Make love in a different room of your home
  33. Make love in your car
  34. Make love outside
  35. Put your serious reading aside for a while and pick up that trashy novel
  36. sign up for lessons to play a musical instrument
  37. take a class to learn a new language
  38. Go to the library or bookstore and get a book about something you know nothing about
  39. If you are an introverted person, email several people today, text several people,  call people, make plans to go to or host a party, say hello to everybody you encounter today, attend a Toastmasters meeting.
  40. If you are an extroverted person, turn off your cell phone. Stay away from your computer. Totally unplug. Be silent. Enjoy some solitude. Read. Walk, Meditate, Write. Listen to relaxing music. Do some puzzles
  41. If you are used to thinking of yourself as fat or unattractive in anyway what so ever, get yourself in front of that mirror and announce that you are absolutely gorgeous and world, watch out!
  42. Attend a community event or meeting like an arts event, wine tasting, art show, or concert
  43. If you are a die hard Democrat, attend a Republican party event in your area with an open mind, and vice versa
  44. Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper about something you feel passionate about
  45. Turn off the the tv in your home and find out what is going on with your family members
  46. Look at the sweet face of your cat or dog and just meditate on all that sweetness, innocence, and unconditonal love
  47. Draw and doodle
  48. Play with play-doh
  49. Plan a new Garden and buy some plants this weekend
  50. Browse a cookbook and mark some recipes to try
  51. send some money to a charity you have never donated to before

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, creative writing, Journal Prompts, journal writing, Self-empowerment | , , , , | Leave a comment

What is one of your proudest achievements?


As you sit down with your journal, think about a time in your life when you achieved something you are really proud of. For example, I am to this day very  proud of the fact that I ran the 1982 Honolulu Marathon at age 16.

Next, how did you feel when you accomplished this achievement? Write down any details you can think  of. What kinds of obstacles did you have to overcome to achieve this goal?

Now, if you ever doubt yourself or feel fear remember this achievement. Feel it and relive it in your mind and body. Carry yourself high as you think of it.

What other goals are you going to achieve? Write them down. What are some action steps you can take? Write them down. Commit to doing one baby step today .  Feel the power within you.

May 3, 2010 Posted by | journal writing, Self-empowerment | , , | Leave a comment

I Am Happy ! This is Why…


You have many reasons to be happy. What are you thankful for in your life right now? Write them down in your journal. Come up with as many things as you can. Think about them throughout your day or as you drift off to sleep tonight.

May 2, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, journal writing | , , , | Leave a comment

Five Journal Prompt Ideas


Here are some prompts for your journal writing time:

  1. What is a fear you have always had? How would it feel to just be free of it?
  2. What did you used to want to do when you were in third grade?
  3. What are you thankful for this very moment?
  4. Go to a bookshelf in your home. Close your eyes. Pick out a book and randomly open it. Write down something about that page. Reflect.
  5. When was the last time you laughed? What caused you to laugh? How did it feel to laugh?

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, Journal Prompts, journal writing | , , , | Leave a comment