Meaning of reflective writing

There is growing evidence that resolution of trauma (or its smaller cousin, stress) requires somatic (body) involvement. The reflection write develops the habit of checking in with the embodied experience of writing, a good gauge of how your nervous system is processing the writing.

(p. 45).

When you are present to what emerges on the page by reading what you have just written and writing a few sentences about what you notice, you are developing an observational part of your brain. You are gaining separation from the write itself and taking note of both the process of writing as well as any insights that the writing yielded. What happened in my body as I wrote? Did my handwriting change? Was there a smile on my face or tears in my eyes? Were there any “aha” moments? Paying attention, cultivating curiosity and noticing what emerges as a function of the process of writing is similar to meditation practices that cultivate concentration and invite insight.

(pp. 45-46).

The reflection write is the consummate expressive writing tool for focused attention.

(p. 46).

The reflection write is an exercise in the process of paying attention, particularly if curiosity and compassion are brought to that process. Reflection supports the process of choosing to fire circuits that over time will change our brains in service of greater healing—and, likely, the authorship of a more integrated, coherent story.

(pp. 46-48).

from “Your Brain on Ink”


Using Journal Ladder for mental health

“Dan Siegel (2012) describes mental health as a river of integration flowing between the banks of chaos and rigidity. When we are leaning toward one bank or the other, we lose some of our harmony and flexibility. […]  Siegel further suggests that mental health is an integrated flow characterized by the acronym FACES: flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized and stable. (38)

it is a constantly recurring choice of the best writing technique or prompt for where you are on any given day, and where you want to place your intention, attention, and action. […] Another way to use the Journal Ladder is to select writing techniques and prompts that are in service of that flow, moving up and down the rungs according to the techniques and prompts that might best support flexibility, adaptability, coherence, energy, and stability—again based on where you wish to place intention, attention, and action.


(pp. 38-39).

from “Your Brain on Ink”