Everything You Know About Journaling Is Wrong

A lot of people have a concept of journaling as something kind of lame, only suitable for crying over a lost love or cataloging the most recent insults offered by the world. But any writing down of thoughts and plans could technically be called journaling. And it really doesn’t matter if you tear up the paper when you’re done, or burn it, or lock it in a safe for some day when you write your memoir. The point right now is to look at journaling in light of the concepts embodied by BrainWeighve. As the app says, the excess brain energy that leads to behavior like overeating can be used for better purposes (see illustration):

The good news is that you can control your displacement mechanism, and your overeating will stop.

A winning strategy can be to rechannel that energy into other purposes, as many as you please, and journaling might as well be one of them. Deliberately redirect the overflow energy into developing the hand-brain connection through, for instance, journaling.

Incidentally, when the communication system between hand and brain is purposefully cultivated, the benefit just might overflow into other activities. For instance, for any musician, from violinist to drummer, that connection needs to be in tip-top condition. Your brain can know every note of a concerto, but it’s your fingers that have to hit the right strings. Your brain can devise the most intoxicating rhythm ever, and it’s a total waste if the fingers and hands can’t pick up the message and convey it to the listeners’ ears.

Your brain wants to work for your benefit

The point is, the hand has a direct line to the brain, and it runs both ways. When you write about how difficult it is to not grab everything on the buffet table, a message goes to the subconscious: “Take this seriously.” Later, when you’re at the actual event, the brain returns the favor by messaging, “Put that hand back in your pocket and keep walking.”

So now, you have the content to fill out one of the problem/solution portions of the BrainWeighve app. You can catalog it there for your own sake, a private plan, for the next time you’re in trouble. When you feel confident in a workable idea, you might at some point decide to share it with others in the same troubling situation. This 12-minute video also says some things about how to make decisions, and how to identify and shake off useless old beliefs. (Quite often those two are closely related.)

In another medium, certified hypnotherapist Laura Irwin wrote,

Journaling came into my life at a crossroads when I realized I was out of touch with many of my emotions and shoved them down to focus on the problem to be analyzed, but emotions are more complex than that. Journaling became a window into my inner life; a profound tool for self awareness. When you access and utilize the power of your subconscious, your subconscious mind and your conscious mind are in sync and begin working together to achieve a common goal.

Irwin outlines six different journaling techniques. One is to begin with sentence fragments which you go on to complete, such as “If I weren’t afraid, I would…” or “Eating healthier would be easier if…” Another is doodling, in specific ways and with a specific purpose. Taking a close, conscious look at your dreams is another. She also describes several different ways to initiate and conduct a dialogue with oneself, and sums up by listing the many benefits of journaling.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “How to Reprogram Your Subconscious Through Journaling,” YouTube, 2020
Source: “6 Subconscious Journaling Techniques,” InspiredMeditations.com, 09/21/20

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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