The mind is a powerful vessel. However, this vessel can get worn down, forget important details, and can sometimes not be the most reliable. As humans, we need outlets. Some have physical outlets such as hiking, painting, singing, and every other activity known to man could be considered an outlet to relieve some sort of feeling of tension. The most powerful outlet of all is journaling. Writing ideas and thoughts down is a great way to measure growth and progress through different emotions, trauma, anxiety, mental illnesses, etc. Journaling is a private practice of well-being, so the person journaling can be completely honest with him or herself.
There are different ways to journal, no one is more right than the other, or more wrong. One method, recommended by Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, says to pick an event or feeling that has significance to you, (if the event or feeling recently occurred, it is recommended to wait a few weeks until you start journaling) journal about this for 4 days for 15-20 minutes at a time. After, do as you feel is best.. burn the journal, hide it, keep it in the open, etc. Other methods, all recommended by Emma McAdam who is a licensed marriage and family therapist, include journaling practices that help restore the mind and body. 1 of 3 approaches to therapy journaling is creating a diagram of a problem or situation. This helps organize thoughts and bring clarity to thoughts- clarify what is real and what is not. The second approach is called “clarify your locus control”. Create 3 columns. The one on the far left reads “in my control”, the middle column reads “influence” (what one can influence, but still not change entirely), and the far right column reads “out of control”. The third approach recommended by Emma McAdam is to write an alternate version of a situation. Write about how you would like to be feeling, write about how you would like to handle a situation- focus on what is in your control. The purpose of this exercise is to not write about how you wished the other person reacted, but rather how you would like to handle issues in the future and address situations accordingly. These exercises can result in powerful outcomes, but it requires an open mind, a pen and a journal first!
Journaling/ simply writing thoughts and feelings down helps process different emotions and/or traumas, relaxing, can make one more self-aware and critically think, etc. The downside of this practice is that if you are not consistent, you can lose interest and thoughts can be scattered.
Journaling as a part of therapy has been in practice for 5 decades. This is a fairly new practice. According to https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/journal-therapy, Journal therapy originated in the 1960s with psychologist Dr. Ira Progoff"s Intensive Journal method. Especially with technology at the core of today’s world, it is refreshing to keep a private journal that cannot be accessed on the internet. With a private and physical journal, your thoughts are truly kept to yourself, unless of course, you have the desire to share these with a therapist or a close friend or family member. Journaling allows people to come as they are. To journal, you do not need any experience or anyone formula to practice good journaling. Journaling is for personal benefit and growth and there is no finite answer. Creativity and words are truly endless with this mindfulness practice. When it comes to journaling, the process and the physical notebooks is not a one-size-fits-all, which makes everyone’s journey so unique and personal to them. Some journals have built-in prompts, some have coloring pages, some work as trackers to track mood, habits, and daily routine, and for some, bullet journaling may work best. Embracing the process and leaning into life struggles is the mentality (of several!) that can help process what is and what can become. Person Care truly wishes the best of success for its clients, and a part of the road to a better mental health mindset is journaling! Person Care’s app and website offer journaling as a benefit to the therapy or life coaching package that can be purchased. Talk to a licensed therapist and/or life coach at https://person.care/. Find your PerSoN today!