Writing Through Emotion
There are no rules to journaling. Writing can be cathartic. It can help you explore your feelings about a topic or event you're struggling with. It can allow you to express yourself in a way that wouldn't be "safe" out loud. It can discharge thoughts and emotions that have built up and are clogging your mental and emotional system, keeping you from moving forward.
Sometimes clients have told me they don't journal or they stopped journaling even though it was once helpful b/c they couldn't keep up with it. They describe a list of rules that they think are required to journal, such as having a designated notebook, writing in it daily, retelling events like a story or like you're telling someone who's never met you. These rules are limiting, and it's understandable why you wouldn't want to journal if you felt you had to meet some set of criteria each time in order to consider this exercise successful.
I'm here to say these rules are not required, people! Journaling can take any form you like. You can write about anything, on any day, at any time, in a notebook, on a napkin, or in a note on your smartphone! You can use a blog online - you can even make this private and password protect it, giving you a space to write that cannot be found under your mattress or in your underwear drawer at home. You can write in bullet points or tell a story or simply complete a single sentence such as "I feel __________ today b/c ____________."
Some people choose to write 3 things they are grateful for and be done with it there. Others may write down single event that proved to be the most significant of the day and not include a word about the emotional meaning for them. The list of possibilities in the way of journaling is long and only limited to your imagination.
One of my favorite methods for journal is the "fill in the blank poem" where you basically create an awesome poem without needing any real creativity or experience with poetry whatsoever. You just fill in the blanks, and when you read it back without the prompts, it sounds like a legit poem you could have made up on your own. The one I'm sharing here today has helped me in particular by giving me a format for exploring my feelings for the day. It forces me to practice self-awareness and then it also allows me to discharge some of the feelings after I've acknowledged having them. It's easy, fast, and doesn't require me to think much so I like it a lot. After a hard day or even a really exciting, joyful day, this quick exercise helps me process the events and my feelings associated with those events. I usually use it before I go to bed to help me unwind, but again there are NO RULES so use it (or don't use it) however you prefer.
Here is is:
"Writing Through Emotion"
What are some feelings you’ve been experiencing today/lately?
1. Choose one feeling and write it here:
2. Describe the color of the feeling:
3. Complete the following sentences about the feeling:
It happens when ______________________________________________________________________
It sounds likes ________________________________________________________________________
It smells like _________________________________________________________________________
4. Repeat the feeling word here:
If you have any journaling ideas of your own that you'd like to share, please send them my way! Take care and happy journaling!