How To Use Journaling To Process Your Feelings
We’ve all been there. You feel upset about something and can’t seem to move past your negative feelings. Have you really processed your feelings, if they continue to creep into your day-to-day thoughts?
Chances are, you have not. Adopting a regular habit of writing in a journal can help you learn to effectively process your feelings and adopt healthier coping strategies when it comes to your intense emotions.
In this article we will delve a little deeper about how to use journaling to process your feelings…
What is Expressive Writing?
Expressive writing is when you focus on journaling about your deepest thoughts and emotions, especially those that surround any emotional challenges you are facing in your life. This type of journaling is a way to explore what is happening in your life as well as how it affects you.
The act of sitting down to write about your anger, fear, or sadness is not always the most pleasant way to spend some time. However, the long-term effects of expressive writing are incredibly positive.
While writing about tough topics and emotional health can be difficult, those who commit to doing it report feeling a greater sense of meaning, report having an enhanced perspective on their problems, and have an improved sense of well-being over time.
Identify The Triggers
Writing about significant life changes, disappointments, and events that lead to emotional trauma helps you to work through the complicated feelings you are having. It helps to identify the triggers or causes of your pain, and can reduce your stress around the events that led to these feelings.
Expressive writing provides an outlet to explore your emotions privately, which can lead to an improved perspective, better solutions to problems, and an overall enhanced emotional wellness.
Expressive Writing Through Journaling
Expressive writing is best accomplished in 20-30-minute sessions that are uninterrupted. Sit down with your journal or computer and just start writing.
Write continuously without stopping to worry about what to say, if what you are writing makes sense, or how your writing is structured. Just start writing what comes to mind and keep going.
Explore your most persistent thoughts and deepest emotions. Discuss the most significant troubles in your life. Explore the past events that trouble you. Consider your relationships and how they influence your life.
Choosing A Time
Some people enjoy writing just before bed, which is a way to get your concerns out of your mind, which in turn can help you fall asleep faster. Others like to write first thing in the morning when their thoughts are most focused and fresh.
Find a time, a place and format that works best for you, and stick with it. A daily habit is best, as you will soon begin to look forward to your journal time, knowing the emotional release and processing that will take place while you write.
Why Expressive Writing Helps
Several research studies have offered preliminary explanations as to why journaling is such an effective strategy for coping with feelings.
The best reason is that the act of writing, which is translating your thoughts into words and then putting them on paper, is powerful and cathartic.
Journaling, like talking to a trusted friend or a counsellor allows you to get your emotions out into the open instead of keeping them buried inside. This has been shown to cause emotional, psychological, and mental health problems.
Getting your feelings out of your mind and onto paper frees up emotional and cognitive space for more important ideas and thoughts.
Improved Creativity & Memory
Expressive writing leads to improved creativity and memory, which shows how it can free your mind from constant focus and worry about your feelings.
Journaling is a process that allows you to identify your feelings, explore the sources and repercussions of them, and determine the best course of action for dealing with them.
This cycle is the essence of emotional processing, which leads to improved well-being and stability.