Essential Techniques for Self-Healing with Alex Elle

In this podcast (episode #433) and blog, I talk to wellness educator, certified breathwork coach and Restorative Writing teacher Alex Elle about the importance of journaling, her new book How We Heal, why we need to model our experiences as adults so that we can teach our children to handle life’s challenges, focusing on our own journey instead of trying to change other people, and so much more!

Writing came into Alex’s life by way of therapy and the exploration of healing through journaling and mindfulness. The intention behind Alex’s work is to build community and self-care practices through literature and language. She teaches workshops, courses and retreats to assist others in finding their voices and creating clarity in their lives & relationships. She is also currently a teacher in residence at CIVANA Resort in Carefree, Arizona. 

As a restorative writing teacher, Alex is passionate about helping people find true healing and get closer to themselves through the pages of their journal, which she discusses in depth in her amazing new book How We Heal.  This book is full of techniques for self-healing, including journaling rituals to cultivate innate strength, accessible tools for processing difficult emotions, and restorative meditations to ease the mind. Complementing these practices are powerful insights from Alex Elle's own journey of self-discovery using writing to heal, plus remarkable stories of healing from a range of luminary voices, including Nedra Tawwab, Morgan Harper Nichols, Dr. Thema Bryant, Barb Schmidt, and many more. 

Alex is passionate about reminding people that we are our own greatest teacher. When it comes to healing and transformation, there has to be a sense of self-trust. The healing journey begins when we learn how to trust ourselves—that we are on the right path even when we feel we may not be.  

Alex’s work centers around guiding people on this journey and teaching them to become their own truth-tellers. She teaches them how to name what they need, give themselves permission to put down things they no longer need, and to honor their own desires. 

A key part of this process is what Alex calls “restorative writing”, which includes journaling. This kind of journaling and writing doesn’t have to be a “dear diary” experience. You can simply start with a prompt like “I am choosing joy because…” and make a list of what choosing joy looks like for you.  

Journaling is not just about uncovering trauma and moving forward, which is of course important. It is also about tapping into our joy and inner peace, which is extremely powerful. Trauma is not our resting placewe don’t just have to sit in our trauma. Part of the healing journey also means seeking out joy and self-celebration

This is not just something we do as individuals. It is a communal act. Self-care and self-healing is an act of community care. When we heal ourselves, we heal each other—we heal our lineages and we dismantle cycles of trauma. 

Yet choosing joy is not just about positive affirmations. As Alex notes, affirmations without actions are just words. Taking action is an important part of any healing journey—we cannot just write “I am worthy” and “I am enough” and think everything will change. We need to take steps to lean into our worthiness and implement actual changes in our lives. This kind of work will have lasting impact in our lives. 

It is also important to understand that it is okay to not have all the answers. When we tap into our inner joy and peace, we can also find a sense of stability even when things are uncertain—even when we are in the midst of a storm. 

This kind of journey is not a one-off event. Healing isn’t band-aid work—it is forever work. Healing is a partner in this life, because as long as we are alive, we will face challenges that can affect us emotionally and physically. 

Healing is not about escaping something. It is about leaning into life and befriending the things that make us afraid so we can tap into our self-compassion and truly move forward. If we stay in the pain and “What ifs”, we will not find acceptance for what we cannot change, which will keep us stuck in the past. But, if we befriend our pain and fears and face them without contention or judgment and with compassion, grace and understanding, we will find true healing. 

This doesn’t happen overnight. Healing is something that we need to practice. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it, and it gets easier the more we walk the journey. The more we practice tapping into our own experiences, the more we access our own answers: our own how, why, when and where...our own journey forward. We learn to trust ourselves and heal. 

And, when we model this for our children and share our journey, we teach them from youth to manage their mental health. We teach our children that this is a lifelong journey, and that when we heal ourselves, we heal others. We show our children how true healing is about community. We are all students of life and of each other. When we give ourselves permission to heal, we give other people the permission to do the same. 

At the same time, it is important to recognize that you can only change yourself, not other people. Our job is not to change people—it is to accept people, even if that means accepting them from afar. This can be hard, especially if it is someone we love. The greatest permission we can give someone to change is to lead by example. 

Likewise, it is more important to like ourselves than have other people like us. If you don’t like yourself, you will find it hard to truly be yourself around other people, or like other people on a genuine level, which will affect your relationships and your mental health.

For more on trusting yourself, the healing journey and improving your mental health, listen to my podcast episode with Alex (episode #433), and check out her amazing work and book.  

If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).      

You can now also join me on Patreon for exclusive, ad-free content! Sign up for a membership level that suits you, and receive access to ad-free exclusive bonus podcasts. These episodes will include more targeted, step-by-step guides for specific mental health issues AND some fun, more personal podcasts about topics like my favorite skincare products and favorite books, as well as live Q&As, fan polls and requests, and exclusive digital downloads!     

This podcast is sponsored by:  

Athletic Greens. With ONE delicious scoop of Athletic Greens, you’re absorbing 75 high-quality vitamins, minerals, whole-food sourced superfoods, probiotics, and adaptogens to help you start your day right. This special blend of ingredients supports your brain, your gut health, your nervous system, your immune system, your energy, recovery, focus, and aging. All the things! To make it easy, Athletic Greens is going to give you a FREE 1 year supply of immune-supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance! 

BetterHelp. Therapy is a great way to take care of yourself. You don’t have to be in crisis mode to benefit from therapy. Therapy can provide preventative and protective strategies, so that when things do get tough, you will know what to do—it is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. And this month, BetterHelp online therapy wants to remind you that you matter just as much as everyone else does, and therapy is a great way to make sure you show up for yourself! BetterHelp is online therapy that offers video, phone and even live chat sessions with your therapist, so you don’t have to see anyone on camera if you don’t want to. It’s much more affordable than in-person therapy and you can be matched with a therapist in under 48 hours. Visit, and join the over 1,000,000 people who have taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. In fact, so many people have been using BetterHELP that they are recruiting additional counselors in all 50 states! I am proud to say that this podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp, and Cleaning Up the Mental Mess listeners get 10% off their first month at    

Podcast Highlights

2:54 Alex’s amazing work  

4:13 We are our own greatest teacher  

4:30 The power of trusting ourselves  

6:14 Healing to tap into joy 

6:48 Healing is a communal act 

9:17 Affirmations without actions are just words 

13:13 It is okay to not have all the answers 

13:55 Healing isn’t a one-time event  

15:15 Why we need to befriend our fear 

19:02 Only you have the answers  

21:40 Modeling the healing journey for our children

29:38, 34:20 We shouldn’t try to change people, only ourselves  

35:20 It is more important to like ourselves than to have other people like us 

Switch On Your Brain LLC. is providing this podcast as a public service. Reference to any specific viewpoint or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by our organization. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact    

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.   

Comments 0

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published