top of page


journal fibromyalgia away


Journaling can have have an enormously beneficial effect on fibromyalgia. Simply writing your thoughts down in a diary will do nothing though. Fortunately, there is a specific way of journaling that has been proven to work. 


In the early 1970s Dr. John Sarno worked at NYU Medical Center where he specialized in treating chronic pain. He noticed that many of his patients were not improving, and began to doubt the effectiveness of conventional treatments for these conditions. 


He decided to look deeper and found three things:

(1) Most of his patients were hardworking, conscientious, and perfectionist: traits associated with suppressed anger. 


(2) Many of his patients had a history of stress related illnesses such as migraine or hernia. 


(3) There was not always a physical explanation for the pain, such as a torn ligament or ruptured disk. 


Building off of this information he realized that it was actually the subconscious mind that was causing the physical symptoms: Throughout our lives we encounter unpleasant situations that make us angry, but instead of facing these situations and releasing the anger some of us bottle it up. This anger then builds and builds and over time turns into suppressed rage. To distract ourselves from this rage hidden within we may become hardworking, conscientious, and perfectionist. 


When this rage reaches a critical level it threatens to become conscious, so the brain creates a hernia, back pain, or some other symptom as a distraction to prevent a violent emotional explosion. 


Dr. Sarno found that all his patients had to do to stop their symptoms was to become aware of their origin. Once the hidden emotions become conscious the brain has no need to distract with pain or other symptoms.

body/mind journal 

Dr. Sarno suggests setting aside 15 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening to journal about the possible causes of your depression or anxiety. Sit down and think about these feelings deeply to bring them from the unconscious into the conscious. When your thoughts reach the subconscious the brain will stop its protective mechanisms. There are a number of possible sources of these feelings:


past experiences

In your notebook make a list of all the experiences that happened in your past that made you feel angry, hurt, humiliated, anxious or depressed. This may include such things as being bullied, rejected, insulted, or feeling unloved. 


current pressures

List anything that causes pressure: your job, your studies, your social life, your partner, your parents, your children, your health, or any other major problems in your life.


personality traits

Add the personality traits you may have that could contribute to your emotional pain: you expect too much of yourself, you drive yourself to be perfect, you have a strong need to please people, you want people to like you, you fall in love too easily, etc.


Once you have completed your list write an essay about each one. You can do this over several days or even months if you need to. It is vital that the information reaches the subconscious so here are some tips on how to get there: 


journaling tips

tip one. vivid

Try to picture each experience as clearly and vividly as you can and write about it as if it’s happening now. The longer and more descriptive your essays the more likely they will penetrate the subconscious mind. 


tip two. free flowing

A pen or pencil may be better for you than typing because they allow you to express yourself better, and you can easily doodle and draw pictures. There is no need to write neatly or even legibly. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. If you make a mistake don’t go to the trouble of erasing it, just cross it out and continue.. 


tip three. language

Write from your heart and not your head. The head is like a professor giving a lecture, using formal language and proper grammar, he takes a detached and impartial approach as he speaks of past and future events. The heart on the other hand, uses casual expressions and is anchored in the present. 

The Divided Mind by John Sarno

Dr. Sarno's books

This website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to 


I strongly suggest reading one of Dr. Sarno’s four incredible books: Healing Back Pain, Mind Over Back Pain, The Mindbody Prescription, or my particular favorite The Divided Mind. I you want some light reading please try my picture book, Emma Meets Dr. Sarno.

the divided mind

Dr. John E. Sarno


The Divided Mind is the crowning achievement of Dr. John E. Sarno's distinguished career as a groundbreaking medical pioneer, going beyond pain to address the entire spectrum of psychosomatic (mindbody) disorders.

The interaction between the generally reasonable, rational, ethical, moral conscious mind and the repressed feelings of emotional pain, hurt, sadness, and anger characteristic of the unconscious mind appears to be the basis for mindbody disorders. The Divided Mind traces the history of psychosomatic medicine, including Freud's crucial role, and describes the psychology responsible for the broad range of psychosomatic illness. The failure of medicine's practitioners to recognize and appropriately treat mindbody disorders has produced public health and economic problems of major proportions in the United States.

One of the most important aspects of psychosomatic phenomena is that knowledge and awareness of the process clearly have healing powers. Thousands of people have become pain-free simply by reading Dr. Sarno's previous books. How and why this happens is a fascinating story, and is revealed in The Divided Mind.

spend time in nature
sit spotting
mindful awareness
flower remedies
active imagination
bottom of page