Journaling has been around since the beginning of time. I mean, even hieroglyphics are a form of telling one’s story, right? Journals have always been used as a type of a log. Think of how ships captains keep track of their travels and progress. But with the advent of psychotherapy, journaling has taken on a much more meaningful tone. Process and change have become linked with the concept of journal writing, taking it much deeper than simply recording experiences and feelings.
Today I wanted to campaign for the journal.
I have carried a journal on and off almost since I could write. It has always been a good way for me to figure out what I am feeling, to problem solve or just keep track of my life.
Journaling can be used for so many purposes. I thought I would list a few.
Record memories- unfortunately memories can slip through our fingers when we don’t record them. Even a few lines can help us pull a memory back.
Keep track of our behaviors that we want to change – For anyone who has ever been on a diet, they know exactly what I am talking about here. You eat better when you have to record it. When we keep track of our behaviors we are more likely to make the changes we want.
Process feelings – Sometimes you just have to write it down. A spat with your spouse? Angry at work? It doesn’t matter what emotions you are experiencing, writing it all down will help your mind work through it all.
Take us through trauma, like loss – One of the best benefits of using a journal when going through a loss is the record of the healing process. As we move through loss, we get better, but while we are in it, that is difficult to see. Keeping track of the process is a powerful tool for acknowledging our progress through the loss.
Problem solve – Writing things down can get us to be objective. When we see our words on paper, we can see them in a different light than when they are floating around in our heads.
How to do it – Here are some simple ways to keep a journal.
• Jot notes in your daily planner.
• Keep a planner and only use it for journaling.
• Keep a family wall calendar and mark events with a few key words.
• Keep a journal in the car, for when you are waiting.
• Keep a journal in your bag or bedside.
• Use your computer.
• Use a Dictaphone.
Journaling is a good idea. But traditional journaling, “May 16th, Today I ……,” is not for everyone. You can use any of the ideas I listed above to begin journaling and you can use journaling for many things, not just recording your every day.
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