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Why You Should Journal

The brain tends to run really really fast when we are upset or basically not in control. Think about the last time someone really pushed your buttons… Or maybe a day that felt like a heavy anchor weighed you down…

Writing a.k.a journaling is one of my favorite tools to encourage clients to practice when experiencing emotional difficulties. It helps to reduce the speed of our thoughts, create clarity, and emotional balance. Writing down what you are thinking is similar to sitting down with a therapist or trusted friend and venting. The thoughts become words and before you know it, an emotional change has taken place. You can read what you wrote and begin a process of healing.

What If I don’t like writing?

Writing can be a daunting task for some. I ask these individuals to allow the process to be structured and direct. For instance, instead of writing on a blank screen or sheet of paper, write based on a topic or theme. Examples of topics and themes include:

  • Why was today a good day?
  • Describe in detail how you are feeling and what lead you to feel this way?
  • Describe a peaceful time in life?

How often should I write in my journal?

I personally like to write in my journal daily as I use it to do my to-do-list and document personal thoughts/feelings. If you are new to this task, I recommend starting light. Ease into the process just as you would with exercise or a new dietary plan. On your calendar, schedule a time/day to allocate to this task. Do your best to be consistent as you’ll be the one to benefit from the process.

How does writing/journaling help me?

Have you ever heard of a coping skill…

Basically, it’s an act that you do to support yourself emotionally. Coping skills are used to reduce escalation in emotions when feeling distress. For instance, you are walking down the street and someone verbally disrespects you by calling you an ugly name. You decide to continue walking and to ease your anger or frustration by engaging in deep breathing.

At the time, you had two choices. One, you react in a positive manner. Two, you react in a negative manner. The coping skills you used included walking away and deep breathing. Both supported you in that you did not react to the ugly words and punch the person in the face. That would have been bad.

Journaling is one of many coping skills that can help TEENS overcome emotional difficulties tied to depression, self-esteem, anxiety and/or self-confidence. If you would like to explore TEEN counseling or read more about the upcoming Teen Therapy Group click here.

The coping skill of journalism i.e. writing down your thoughts, feelings, and/or ideas can support you in so many ways. One including, not punching people in the face.

  • This coping skill can be your confidant in that you are utilizing it to write down deep emotional thoughts that are too heavy to carry.
  • Journaling can help prepare for upcoming events. For instance, if you struggle with anxiety or worry. You can write down the event that is coming up, how you expect to feel, and the potential coping skills you plan to use. As you write down your plan of attack, you’ll be more prepared for the upcoming event.
  • It’s a sounding board. A place that you can let it out any way you want without feeling judged.
  • It’s a place that allows you to reflect and grow. Writing your thoughts, feelings and/or ideas allows you to look back and build.


Ready to Journal? 3 Steps…

STEP 1: I’m a bit old school, so I like the old fashion pen and paper. Something about the way the pen pushes against the paper makes me feel good. Maybe that’s why… If you like pen and paper, go for it. If not, try your phone, tablet or laptop. I’ve worked with patients who prefer video or audio. It’s up to you in selecting your ideal platform.

STEP 2: After you select your platform, transition to setting up a schedule. Give yourself a schedule, something similar to a work or school schedule that you can follow.

STEP 3: As discussed earlier in the post, if you prefer writing using topics, work with that angle. If not, start with a blank slate.

As a professional counselor, I support people experiencing emotional difficulties and needing ways to heal and overcome challenges. If you would like to explore counseling call 336-707-1723.