Journal Writing – Express yourself.
Journal writing and keeping a journal is a great way of helping to get a better perspective on things. Research has shown it to have similar benefits to counselling. (1)
Journal writing is not about wallowing in self pity, it is a tool to help you see alternative ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. A way of looking back over what you have written so you can see the changes in your attitude over time. This can help you be optimistic about the future.
Get a note pad and pencil and start writing. No perfection needed, if you are going to write about something unpleasant that happened that day also remember to write about the thoughts that made you fell upset. writs how you would prefer to think and feel if it were to happen again.
Moving your thought and feelings from your head to paper helps separate you from them and helps you to feel calmer and less stressed. The whole idea of this process is to give you space to let your thoughts flow easier. Write about your goals and the steps you will take to get you there.
How to start.
Start with the date – this way you can easily see exactly where you were in life at that time and help you see where the gaps are.
What to write about.
Ask yourself a few questions – How do you feel right now? What’s on your mind?
If you keep going then your inner critic can’t get in the way of the process.
Pick some specific days to write.
Two or three days a week are plenty, if you have a lot going on everyday may be of more benifit. Write for about 15 – 20 minutes.
There are no rules.
Everyone is different, do it in a way that works for you.
Be honest with yourself, your journal is private. If you feel unconfortable writing about something then you probably need to write about it!
Re-read previous entries from time to time and notice how time and experience can change the way you think and feel about things. It will help you to see how you have developed and move you in a positive direction.
I advise my clients to write a journal I also keep one myself!
(1) Pennebaker J and Chung C (2007) Expressive Writing and it’s links to mental and physical health.