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Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live

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2018 COVR Visionary Health and Healing Award Winner

Journaling Power is a candid, beautifully-written self-help book, filled with warmth, wit and wisdom.” ~ Dennis Palumbo, psychotherapist and author, Writing From the Inside Out

“Remarkable, riveting and transformative.” ~ Peggy McColl, New York Times best-selling author

Journaling Power teaches you how to put the ultimate self-healing tool right at your fingertips--journaling. You'll discover how daily pen-to-paper journal writing leads to self-growth and life-changing transformation. You'll also learn that numerous scientific medical studies prove journaling unleashes a healing agent that empowers your life in ways you've never imagined.

Mari L. McCarthy shares her own personal story of health and healing and provides step-by-step guidance on how to use your own Journaling Power Practice to:

Reduce physical pain and overcome illness Heal emotional wounds from past traumas Resolve inner conflicts and create self-compassion Conquer limiting beliefs and fears Reconnect with your inner healer Reduce stress and find inspiration Set realistic goals--and discover the motivation to make them happen Create the happiest, healthiest life for your Self.

With Journaling Power, you'll use the transformative power of expressive writing and therapeutic journaling to heal from stressful life events like chronic illness, job loss, divorce or grief. Mari L. McCarthy guides you on a holistic journey of well-being and self-care and shows you how to put yourself first--allowing you to lead a life of joy, compassion, creativity and growth.

Find yourself a notebook and pen and a quiet, comfortable space--and use Journaling Power's writing prompts, morning pages and journaling exercises to unlock the strength of your unconscious mind.

"Mari used journaling herself to relieve her symptoms of MS. In this book, she reveals the full power of journaling, not only for people who have an illness, but for anyone, actually, who simply wants to unlock their personal creativity or find some more meaning and purpose in their life." ~David Hamilton, PhD, Author, How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body

148 pages, Kindle Edition

Published September 29, 2016

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Mari L. McCarthy

67 books22 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for Melanie Faith.
Author 13 books68 followers
October 8, 2017
This wonderful book includes helpful exercises as well as practical, engaging advice for developing a journaling practice. What I love about Mari's prose is that it is clear and also like sitting down with a good friend whose honesty, bravery, and insight are won through experience and peppered with great joy. "You owe it to yourself to cast off all the labels that have been given you, and re-define yourself in your own terms," she encourages. Great quotes at the beginning of each chapter, too. For writers of all levels, this is a book not to be missed.
Profile Image for Sylvia Mcgrath.
73 reviews5 followers
May 3, 2019
Getting my life back on track.

This is the second time I have read this book both times in very stressful times. The first time this book and journaling helped me work through my problem. After my husbands recent death this is helping me get my life back on track.
Profile Image for Wendy.
2 reviews
March 14, 2021
Here is a book that gives you a roadmap to managing your own wellness. This book could easily replace most of my self-help books. There are three things that make this book special: an open, relatable narrator, who is also the case study; excerpts and quotes from top experts in the healing benefits of writing; and easy, tried and true exercises to inspire your daily writing practice.

Her genuine self-account on silencing her inner critic, reclaiming creativity and finding her true self is just what the reader needs to begin or move forward on a path that can be daunting. Daunting because Mari’s method of journaling is WORK. There is a commitment to writing daily. Preferably 1-3 pages, but if you’re feeling blocked, at least check in with your journal to keep you in the habit. I have at times written the date at the top and doodled. Sometimes the doodles will lead to words. There is so much magic in this daily practice!

For those of us who have experienced trauma, there are some who feel very disconnected from ourselves, both physically and emotionally. Since I began utilizing these tools, I’m starting to actually experience my own emotions, rather than avoiding them. I’ve also learned to take a minute to actually feel what’s going on inside my physical body instead of just throwing medicine at it.

What I’ve learned from Mari and her books and workbooks is that the real power of journaling lies in the consistency. Over the years I have taken breaks from journaling. Things happen. We get side tracked by major life events, and we push the journal aside instead of reaching for it. The problem is you lose that vital momentum in discovering the next link in the chain. I’m always relieved when I finally get back on track with my journal, but I almost feel I’ve taken a step or two back from where I was when I set my journal aside.

The final chapter on goal setting is perfect. The exercises took me to a new place where I was able to step outside of my old brain and see things anew. There are exercises included to help you face your fear and frustration associated with reaching your goals.

Another bit of magic are the a-ha moments, things like mini discoveries about myself, and others that are a result of exercises in this book. They may not even be directly related to what you have written, but BOOM, there it is—some distant memory of your childhood, or a realization of why you’re not getting enough sleep.

Mari cites the best pioneers on writing therapy and gives us the gift of her own personal experiences to keep us engaged. I believe this is how she’s built her community of creative and dedicated journalers. This is my second time reading Journaling Power, and it has brought about new and different self-discoveries this time around. What a gem.
5 reviews
March 22, 2021
Journaling Power is a comprehensive guide to journaling practices and how to use them. The author, Mari McCarthy plumbs the depths of her own experiences and how she came to journaling as a healing practice. She shares her deeply intimate story with a transparency that maintains her personal dignity. In Journaling Power, Mari details the benefits of journaling to the whole of life and how every exercise can easily be adapted to fit the situation. She includes information on relevant scientific findings and offers resources for the reader to conduct her/his own research.
Journaling Power’s focused subject matter, unique approach and Mari’s conversational writing style put in a class by itself. Chapters are short, interrelated, and contain plenty of real-world examples and doable exercises. The book showcases her lively experiential/interactive flair that takes the reader on an immersive adventure of self-discovery. She explains concepts and practices and shares how they work for her as the reader explores her/his own budding journaling experience. Mari’s nurturing writing style is like a picnic with friends on a warm spring day.
Journaling Power draws the reader in with compassion and soothing reassurance. It invites the reader to experiment with the exercises and adapt them for maximum effect in her/his life. The techniques, questions, and exercises helped me to think outside my brain and to drop down into my unconscious self. The result is a gentle nudging for the reader to explore her/himself to go within and undertake the hard challenge that leads to freedom from internalized emotional hurt. Mari also writes about using journaling for problem-solving, working through difficult issues, and to move ahead with goals and dreams. Journaling is not for everyone, which Mari acknowledges several times in Journaling Power, a nod to her recognition of every human being’s autonomy to govern their life. Journaling Power will appeal to readers who want to try journaling and do not where or how to start. And seasoned journalers will delight in the easy to improvise exercises. The book is a must-have for all journalers and makes a fabulous gift. As Mari says, “#WriteON!”
Profile Image for Anne Greenawalt.
Author 2 books9 followers
March 27, 2021
I used to journal almost every day from my preteen years through my first year of graduate school. And then life took over and my journaling practice faded. I discovered Mari McCarthy and her Create Write Now community at a time in my early adulthood that I felt like I was losing myself. Journaling, with the assistance of Mari's prompts, brought me back to my authentic self. And when I lost my way again, I knew I could return to my journal for guidance. Now, after one of the most dramatic life changes one can experience, parenthood, I find myself in need of a journaling practice more than ever. I am confident that Mari's newest journaling book will help me recover my authentic self yet again.

Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live by Mari McCarthy is the ultimate journal companion. This slim and accessible volume packs in everything you need to know about the power of journaling, whether you're a seasoned veteran or brand new to the practice.

Mari writes with passion from personal experience about the many benefits of a regular journaling practice: reduce physical pain and overcome illness, heal emotional wounds from past traumas, conquer limiting beliefs and fears, and more. She also backs her claims with a summary of research from 300+ scientific studies.

Beyond convincing readers of journaling power through anecdotes and research, she provides practical tips and plenty of prompts so readers can engage in the practice and experience its power firsthand. She draws on ideas from other prominent writers and journalers, like Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, but puts her own stamp on morning pages to make them accessible for everyone, not just artists, as well as offers prompts she created to target positive life goals like emotional wellness, health, and prosperity.

Journaling Power is a necessary resource for writers, artists, students, and any person looking for an alternative way to find life fulfillment, joy, and wellness. I’m going to keep this book beside my journal for guidance and inspiration.
Profile Image for Kourtney.
567 reviews19 followers
January 12, 2021
One of the things that I made a resolution for this year was to find some happiness within me. I’ve been lost since having kids, and the stress from 2020 really showed me how much I had strayed from my dreams. Like a beacon of light, this book came across my Kindle that is a great starting point.

So what should I do to find my happiness again? Enter Journaling Power by Mari McCarthy. This book discusses how the process of journaling can help you discover things about yourself you never knew. This book is the ultimate starters kit, by providing the what (journal, journal, journal!), the how (exercises to help you get started), testimonials from people who have tried it, and also some scientific studies that were done on the art of journaling and its power to heal your body.

One part of the book discusses how it can heal you and help certain medical conditions feel better. I was a bit skeptical about this, but reading some of the science did make sense. I’m going to take the approach here of “don’t knock it until you try it.” And trying it starts today! I have completed my daily pages and will do more again tomorrow until this becomes a habit. I used to keep a diary in college – I think this is a great time to start journaling!

Want to try to find some happiness within you but don’t know where to begin? Give this book a try!

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

April 16, 2021
"Challenges are opportunities requesting action."
With this quote, author Mari McCarthy opens “Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live.” Formerly a consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, her authority comes from her journey with multiple sclerosis and her subsequent discovery of journaling as a means to living a healthy and fulfilled life.

McCarthy wrote Journaling Power to provide a way forward for anyone, whether suffering an infirmity or not, with the tools, knowledge, and inspiration that help to create a contented, health-filled life. Through personal experience and scientific studies, she investigated how and why journaling works.

Not all of McCarthy’s book is to be simply read. She encourages readers to begin journaling for themselves through exercises designed to apply the principles outlined in her book. I completed each exercise and feel my journaling and myself to be the better for it.

In winding down the book, McCarthy says, “… I want you to know that you deserve success and that it is achievable, one step at a time.” Through journal prompts and her personal story, she encourages her readers to begin that journey for themselves.

I heartily recommend the book to anyone seeking help with daily living challenges and is willing to journal about it. It’s well worth the read.
36 reviews
November 18, 2018
In this book the author provides many journaling writing prompts as well as a discussion of the potential health benefits of regular journaling. Some of the potential benefits include: reduced stress and suffering, cultivating a deeper understanding of the self and foundational life experiences, and assisting with goal setting. She is clear in the book that, of course, journaling will not benefit every person in the same way, but it is interesting to read about her personal experiences and how journaling has assisted her with managing the symptoms of MS. Due to the practical nature of the book, it would be a great resource for those who are interested in writing therapy but aren’t sure where to start. The book also focuses intensely on strategies for dealing with the ‘Inner Critic’, which has relevance beyond journaling. The concept of ‘Night Notes’ is also discussed. I felt that this particular technique may be a very useful tool for readers suffering from insomnia and other sleep related issues. The writing style is warm and very easy to read. The layout is also functional, allowing the reader to skip to sections of most interest when revisiting the book.
150 reviews10 followers
November 20, 2018
I have often tried to start journaling, whether to keep better track of my day-to-day life or as a method of clearing my mind - but never have I managed to stick with it for more than a few weeks at a time. I think a lot of the benefits of this practice seem to be relatively common knowledge - I certainly didn't begin reading this book with any great hope of learning anything new, despite my optimism that it would shake me into restarting this practice of daily journaling.

However, my expectations were vastly exceeded. I found that this book was incredibly informative, and appealed to the intellect as much as to the emotional and mental benefits of journaling. I learned a number of new and interesting uses for journaling, and I was pleasantly surprised by this. McCarthy has also provided a fantastic and unintimidating framework by which to begin journaling, suggesting various easy ways of getting started, including help on when and how to journal, as well as what kind of thing to write.

The whole text was incredibly encouraging, and has inspired me to restart journaling - what's more, I believe it's taught me how to make better use of journaling as a habit.
Profile Image for Jantine.
676 reviews41 followers
January 12, 2021
As an avid journaler, I already was aware that journaling has many benefits. It is also something that I always like to learn more about.

This book has a lot of very, very good journaling prompts and exercizes. I started using some of them, and plan on using them all - which says a lot, because usually I am very picky when it comes to journaling promts and exercizes. It partly being a memoir made it feel personal, and there are quite some good sources and studies noted.

The only downside to this book is, I think, that it throws around the webpage and business of the author around way too much, turning a great book into a kind of ad sometimes. At certain parts the site was mentioned in every other sentence ... However, if you can work through that and put it aside, it is a real gem.

*Also realize that the author made some choices that are not for everyone. It is stated in the book that this is the case. To me the idea of not having health insurance while having a progressive disease is daunting, but then I come from a place where health care is put up very differently than it is in the US.

I received a free copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rev. Linda.
665 reviews
December 13, 2017
A resource for a series of Spiritual Journaling workshops I am creating for our church's Women's Conference -- From the publisher: Discover the Ultimate Self-Healing Tool! Journaling Power teaches you how to put the best holistic self-healing tool right at your fingertips – journaling. Through Mari L. McCarthy’s moving personal story, you’ll discover how pen-to-paper journaling can lead to self-growth and life-changing transformation. You’ll also learn that numerous medical studies prove journaling unleashes an internal healing agent that literally gives you the power to...
Reduce stress and physical pain, Overcome life challenges, Heal emotional wounds, Resolve inner conflicts and gain a deeper understanding of your true self, Conquer limiting beliefs and fears that have held you back, and Create the life you want from the inside out
Profile Image for Michelle Cornish.
Author 23 books88 followers
February 11, 2021
Journaling Power is an exceptional little book. Whether you're new to journaling or you've been doing it for years, you will find something in these pages to make your journaling practice even more powerful. Exceptionally written, journaling power is candid and vulnerable while at the same time inspirational. Each chapter provides new lessons (backed by research and Mari's own experiences) on how journaling can change your life, as well as examples and journal prompts, so you can put this book to practical use the minute you start reading. For years, I've known I feel better when I journal, but sometimes life happens and I forget or run out of time in the day. This book was just the reminder I needed to get back on track!
Profile Image for Sara O'Brien.
20 reviews
July 8, 2021
I learned early on as a child that words have power. I learned later on that writing those words can have so much more than power but healing and self discovery as well. Mari McCarthy’s story of self-healing touched me personally, as my mother lives with MS, I appreciated her being candid and the easy to follow prompts in this book. What made this book stand out for me was that it is a self-help book but so much more. I will be hanging on to my copy for a while until I pass it on to someone who may need it. I have also decided to buy a few copies for some of the people in my life who I believe could use the gentle push to unleash their creativity and help to lead them to their self-transformation. I give this book a five out of five and will definitely look for more from Mari.
Profile Image for Yvonne Glasgow.
Author 16 books62 followers
November 26, 2018
As a professional poet, I know the importance of words, and I know the healing power they can have on people. However, after reading Mari's story, I learned that the healing power of writing is much more profound than even I knew. In this book, Mari lets us in on her own health issues and the failure of modern medicine when it came to helping her with her illness. She then takes the reader on a journey with her. This journey will teach you how to use daily journaling to find better health and wellness.

My favorite things about this book are the journaling exercises. These make it easy to use Mari's journaling techniques in your own life.
Profile Image for Mark Smith.
183 reviews3 followers
November 28, 2018
There are a million of self-help books promising to enlighten the reader and fix their lives. But author Mari L. McCarthy doesn’t make those promises. She instead uses a tried-and-true method that helps readers connect with their thoughts and understand their lives through journaling. Journaling Power doesn’t just teach readers how to keep a record of thoughts and emotions. The book helps us evaluate why we feel and act. It serves as a tool that helps journal writers understand the whys. McCarthy’s gentle, caring personality shines through as she describes the joy and excitement of journaling and helps readers learn to become their own counselor.
Profile Image for Liliyana Shadowlyn.
2,226 reviews64 followers
March 12, 2021
I always say this it is - this is the year I'm going to start keeping a journal. I'm always interested in books like this. Sometimes they're really helpful, sometimes not. This definitely falls into the helpful category. While I can't say it's fixed any of my physical issues, it has helped lower my stress levels - a lot. If you're stressed, or just wanting to get to know yourself more, this is a great book to start with. Not only are there journaling prompts, but you get to hear about the science behind why journaling can help not just your mental but physical health. I did really enjoy hearing about Mari's journey, and I really hope others find it as helpful (if not more so), as I did!
Profile Image for Valeria Teles.
Author 8 books13 followers
August 2, 2020
Journaling Power is well, powerful! The healing benefits of journaling are endless.
Mari’s work teaches and inspires us to understand the inner world and how to live with joy and inner peace.
This book is a wonderful gift to all of us!
It was a joy to have had a conversation with Mari L. McCarthy during a podcast interview! His peaceful presence and wisdom reflected her commitment to deeply connect with and help others.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for harmony and healing.
Profile Image for Tasha Mahoney.
1,055 reviews40 followers
March 27, 2021
This is an interesting book designed to help one take more control of their wellbeing through journaling.
The author shares her own experiences and the benefits that she herself found by the practice of journaling and how it can make one focus on ones wellbeing.
I will be interested to implement some of these practices and look forward to seeing the benefits. I would be remis if I didn't express some doubt that this will benefit me but I have a journal, I have this book and I have hope..
January 5, 2020
Great read. At only 129 pages long it can be read in far less then a week if you have the time. I absolutely love that the author has included exercises in this book.
The author also includes helpful tips and hints for journaling.
Do not be afraid to spend some time on yourself daily. You will thank yourself in the end.
141 reviews6 followers
March 7, 2019
A lot of information which one can use to keep on journaling. Journaling is important for body and soul. Mari gives examples and exercises one can use and follow. "Stay committed to a daily pen-to-paper journaling practice and positive action"
Profile Image for Judy.
756 reviews13 followers
February 4, 2021
I've read through it once and it really resonated with where I am now. Plus, I love the fact she uses Cameron's Morning Pages as a basis for her journaling. Can't wait to go through the book again and apply the exercises with my own resumed morning pages.
Profile Image for Melissa.
511 reviews5 followers
April 2, 2021
I am new to journaling and this is such a good informative book. The journaling prompts were very helpful. And learning the benefits both physically and mentally from journaling. I think this is a great book to read no matter what your journaling habits may be.
Profile Image for Dorrie Baker.
100 reviews26 followers
February 10, 2020
Nicely done!

I found Mark's story inspiring and helpful how she wove it in with examples. I find myself ready to try this one and hopefully ease some of my own health issues.
Profile Image for Renee Roberson.
16 reviews1 follower
October 17, 2016
I’ve journaled on and off over the years, but have only recently realized that the powers of therapeutic journaling can extend to many different areas of our lives. While I knew a little bit of Mari’s background with multiple sclerosis before reading Journaling Power, the whole picture of how she tackled her symptoms through journaling is fascinating. She writes:

"Pen-to-paper journaling solidifies the link between mind and body in many ways. It enables us to discover that we really live in our whole bodies, including our physical and figurative hearts, as well as in our heads."

Mari’s story of writing to help heal her body (she eventually was able to stop taking a plethora of prescription and over-the-counter medications) is inspirational. On her journey, she also reconnected with her creative side and began pursuing dreams she never thought before possible, even starting up a business that enables her to be prosperous and fulfilled in many different walks of life.

I found Journaling Power to be the perfect mix of memoir, testimonials on the benefits of therapeutic writing from journalers Mari has worked with in the Create Write Now community, and medical studies that examine the use of journaling with patients. By combining all these elements into one book, Mari skillfully weaves a convincing argument on how anyone struggling with time management, unresolved emotions, health issues, blocked creativity and more should give this type of writing a try. She also sprinkles different journaling prompts throughout each chapter to help get you started.

I finished the book eager to get my journal and pen back out and work on my own productivity issues in the hopes of getting my creative writing career back on track. I highly recommend this book to anyone searching for more answers in their lives. It doesn’t matter if you don’t consider yourself a writer—according to Mari, we are ALL writers!
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