I find that putting pen to paper can be one of the most cathartic things you can do to relieve your mind of worry, stress, sadness, anxiety, depression and so much more. The main trick is…be honest with yourself and get in touch with your feelings. Getting in touch with my true feelings has been one of the hardest things to do. For way too long, I had been suppressing my emotions and not giving them the attention that they need and deserve.
While I will give you some journal topics to get you started, I also want to give you a few tips and tricks I have learned over the years that may help you relinquish some of your control over the feelings that you harbor.
- Always put a name to your feelings. There is an eerie power that written language can release our innermost worries and fears. By naming the feeling specifically, you release it from within yourself, and it will then have a name that you can further dissect the whys around that feeling.
- Determine an event or interaction that has caused you to feel these emotions. Who, what, when, where, and how are a great way to work backwards from your current emotional state once it is named and understand what triggered these emotions.
- I am not an expert nor do I have a degree in anything to do with psychology or therapy. I just know what has worked for me over the years to help express myself which is why I recommend that you find a therapist and educate yourself before battling the big monsters you may have with your emotions.
- This link from Psychology Today may help you get started on your journaling journey 🙂
Below are the journaling prompts I use to get the thoughts flowing:
- List all of the things that are preoccupying your mind with stress or worry; even if you feel they are minor.
- Within that first list, really think about the things that are within your control and that you can have an impact on today. Write about your plan to mend those things within your control and write about why you are worried about things you cannot control.
- At the end of a long day (or any day at all), reflect upon and journal your most positive experience within your day. What made it positive? How did it make you feel in the moment? Can you think of ways to replicate that into the following day?
- At any point when you are having a day of insecurity or self-pity, as best as you can write about where those feelings originated from today. Was it something someone said to you? Did you wake-up with the feeling that already it would not be a positive day? Think about those insecurities and see if those are ones that you are projecting on yourself in the view of others judgement of you? What really triggered it and how can you spin it into something that is within your control.
- Frustration! We all have it…whether it is with ourselves or other individuals. Journal those feelings. I emphasize feelings here because the goal is not to identify a particular situation or incident that irritated you. No, it is about the feelings that you experienced while in that scenario. Were you already in a bad mood before the incident? Was it irritation you felt? Sadness? Anger? Try to name that feeling and describe it in detail in your journal.
- Sometimes you have to go with an oldie, but a goodie. Keep a journal by your bed and upon waking in the morning, jot down you dreams. What happened in the dream? To the best of your knowledge, where did those dreams come from? How is it impacting your feelings now? Now, write out your talk track to yourself about how that dream(s) will not control your day, and what you need to do to get yourself in a better mood.
Personally, I have taken to journaling because I like to capture my mood and feelings as they are happening so that I can decipher them, but more importantly, I need to remember them to share with my therapist. It’s so important to interpret your feelings and then be able to release them. Journaling is a useful tool for me to balance my life and get back to being more positive in everyday life.