How Keeping a Journal Can Help Emotions
By Randi Morse
Like many people, I have been to therapy. It seems like we are all dealing with more issues now than previous generations had to. Because of this, there are thousands of people who have a difficult time understanding and dealing with their emotions. One of the first exercises a therapist suggested to me was to keep a journal. I scoffed at the idea; after all, I know what's going on in my own head, how could a journal help me feel better?
Not a Diary
The first thing I needed to wrap my head around is that journaling is not the same thing as having a diary. When you think about a diary, most people think about young, preteen girls feeling the blank pages with their wishes and dreams. Journaling is not like that. One of the great things about journaling is that you can make it be anything that you want it to be. For example, when I started journaling I honestly didn't know what to write. When was I going to write? How was I going to keep this exercise going? So, instead of writing down my feelings, I would write down everything I accomplished that day and everything that I was hoping to accomplish the next day. This gave me the ability to actually see the things I was completing, which boosted my self-esteem more than I thought it would.
How to Journal
If you are looking to start a journal, the first thing you should do is find a journal and a pen that excites you. It may sound silly, the idea of a journal and pen being exciting, but you're going to be much more likely to write in your journal if you actually like the tools that you're using. Once you have found your writing paraphernalia, you need to pick a time, daily, when you will be able to journal reliably. Some people prefer to write their thoughts down in the morning, capturing the last essences of the dreams they had. Others, like me, prefer to write just before bed. I keep my journal, and my fountain pen, on the nightstand next to my bed and every night I write in it, even if it's only a few lines.
Journaling is often the first thing that therapists recommend their patients do, and there's a reason for that: it works. For me, journaling gave me a place to vent my feelings without having to worry that I was annoying or bothering anyone else. If you're like many and have a difficult time with your emotions, give journaling a try.
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