The Warm Milk Journal

A nurturing place for people who can't sleep

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

Looking Forward To A Good Night Sleep Tonight

I am looking forward to a good night sleep tonight and this is why:

  1. I am happy
  2. I feel good about my life
  3. My daughter is happy
  4. I am in love with the most wonderful man in the world
  5. I ate a healthy delicious dinner tonight (portabello mushroom sandwiches, couscous with greek olives and feta cheese, and brocoli) with a Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon
  6. I am getting ready to go for my evening walk (my Ipod shuffle is charging as I write this)
  7. I am looking forward to Mothers Day tomorrow
  8. I am in The Now

I wish for all of us a good night sleep. Be safe. Be well. Know that you are not alone. You are loved.

Good Night

Debra : )

May 9, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, Self-empowerment, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , , , , , | 2 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

For All You Mothers Out There

For the new mothers: You are losing sleep right now feeding and nursing and soothing your babies throughout the night. You are chasing toddlers and arranging play dates and countless other activities for your families and households.

As your kids get older there will be school issues and different life issues as the years pass. Kids grow up. Moms remain moms.

I am 43 years old and I still need my mom. I am thankful for the talks, the cheering up during times I am down, the candles and clothes from Kohls sales she likes to send me, and her just being there.

There are moms out there who may still have children at home and are also dealing with the strain of aging parents. God bless you.

There are moms out there adjusting to life with empty nests. Kids in college or out on their own working , marrying and raising families of their own.

I am thankful for my two kids, Stephen and Aimee, ages 15 and 12. They are getting older but still need me. The best thing that ever happened to me was when my son was born (almost 16 years ago now). I can still remember those early days with that new baby and thinking: now what do I do? I don’t know how to be a mom. Here was this most exquisite little creature completely dependent on me. The days of being home with him, nursing him, holding him, watching every little development…it was a magical, miraculous time and I really felt like I was hanging out with God.

I am thankful to know what it is to love something greater than myself and learn to give so much of myself. There were times during those earlier years that I didn’t think I would make it. Lonely days as a young stay at home Seattle area mom. Sleepless nights. Tears like the rain that so often fell. Older moms would tell me that they are little for such a brief time. Enjoy the time with them. I would nod my head, but back then not really understanding. Back then, it would seem I would always be the mom of little kids: immersed in the world of plastic toys, baby board books, mommy-toddler story times at the library, play dates with other kids and their moms ….., intricately planned themed birthday parties, camps, girl scout troop meetings, etc.

Now, they are older. Instead of trips to Toys r Us for presents during the holidays or for birthdays, it is gift cards or cash. They want to do their own shopping. We still have family time but what they really want is  time with their friends. They are older. They still need me. But it is different.

I remember when I first found out I was pregnant. A coworker of mine excitedly exclaimed: “Oh, Debra, you are going to have a little boo-boo! Children are such a blessing!”

Children are a blessing. And so are their mothers.

Happy Mothers Day

Debra : )


May 8, 2010 Posted by | Heartwarming Stories, insomnia, Parenthood, Spirituality | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Be a laser beam: the power of focus and purpose

Being focused on something that has meaning and value in our lives gives us a sense of purpose. I know that I am so much healthier mentally and emotionally when I have this focus going on. I coincidentally, have very little anxiety and sleep much better at night when I am focused. Direction is a good thing. We hear hear so often of people (men particular) who die of heart attacks soon after they retire.  I think it is because they lost their sense of purpose for their lives.  Play and relaxation is very important for a balanced life but we do need some kind of aim and goals to strive for.

What is one good thing in your life that you can really focus on? A healthy “obsession” that can inspire and drive you? If you have many ideas- write them down. then choose one. Make a decision to focus on one thing. Once you decide to focus and commit to a project or task it is amazing what happens: ideas pop up when you least expect them, people will come into your life that can mentor or support your idea, things just kind of galvanize.

Decide on one of your ideas and commit to giving it your all for 30 days- and then see what happens.

Debra : )

May 7, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, insomnia, Self-empowerment | , , , , , , | 1 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

Tryptophan: good for sleep and overcoming shyness

We have heard about tryptophan. It is an amino acid that helps our brains to produce serotonin which helps us to relax and sleep.

Now, it would seem, researchers from McGill University in Canada have discovered that tryptophan also increases self esteem and helps people feel more confident in social situations. This is a great benefit for those of us who are plagued with shyness and anxiety. It just might be worth a try!

Tryptophan is naturally found in milk, cheese, nuts, chicken, and turkey. It can also be found in supplement form.

Resource: May 17, 2010 issue of Woman’s World

May 7, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, insomnia, Self-empowerment, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , | Leave a comment

An Affirmation For Patience


Today, I catch moments of impatience and turn them into opportunities to quiet my mind and feelings, and fully engage in co-creation with Spirit. I appreciate the power of divine right timing in my life.

(from May’s issue of Science of Mind Magazine)

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Affirmations, Meditations, Spirituality | , , , | 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:






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

“Out of clutter find simplicity; from discord find harmony; in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” -Albert Einstein

Ways to incorporate simplicity and harmony in our lives:

  1. Focus on the good in our lives and let go of the rest
  2. Like Richard Carlson says: Don’t sweat the small stuff…and its all small stuff
  3. Ask: Do we really need that bigger house?
  4. Ask: Do we really need that bigger car?
  5. Ask: Do we really need all that stuff?
  6. Ask: Do we really need to sign our kids up for every extra-curricular sports and activity our community has to offer?
  7. Learn to say no.

I read an article in a recent Ladies Home Journal and they took a survey from people from different professions about what they think it takes to make a marriage work. One lady, a realtor, suggested that couples buy a smaller house rather than stretch themselves financially to get that bigger house. The sentiment was that instead of being stressed and fighting about money, the couple who bought a smaller house with a smaller mortgage could then use their resources to go out for nice dinners together, take vacations, and nurture each other.  That is certainly something to think about.

Parents of our generation tend to keep our kids very busy with after school sports and lessons and weekend soccer games etc. Is all of this busy-ness really good for us? I am not judging (for I have done these things myself). I just encourage us to look at our lives and question.

Simplicity. Harmony. Peace. Balance.  I like the sound of these things. A person living a simple, harmonious, peaceful, and balanced life is probably not a person staying up at night stressed, panicked, and anxious about his or life.

Debra : )

May 6, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, Self-empowerment, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment