One practice useful for processing life’s experiences of trauma, pain and adversity is journaling. Truth be told, it`s been a practice of mine for years and has only grow more valuable during this season of adversity and recovery.
Journaling can take on many different forms (be it paper or electronic) and be used for a variety of reasons. A journal can be a place where you record events, express emotion, catalogue quotes and wise sayings, draw pictures, write out prayers, do personal planning, and pretty much anything else you want or need it to be.
Journaling provides a STRUCTURE to help you process life, increase self-awareness, see things from a fresh perspective and increase your ability to be live in the present.
It gives you the opportunity to think which paves the way for change and growth.
Thinking is hard work. That’s why so few people do it. Henry Ford
20 Ways Journaling Can Help You Dance with “the rest”
- Provides future encouragement – when you read what you wrote weeks earlier
- Improves physical health following a traumatic experience (Bruce)
- Enhances psychological healing and growth (Adams)
- Releases pent-up emotions
- Counters anger and frustration
- Helps to reduce and overcome stress
- Helps detach from past events in order to let them go
- Articulates and clarifies thinking
- Facilitates healthy self-talk and neutralizes self-sabotaging conversations
- Reinforces learning and increases retention of anything heard or read
- Identifies values and provides opportunity to more powerful align with them
- Helps you see options which empowers action
- Promotes honesty and cuts through denial and self-deception
- Gives a place to listen to the voice of wisdom or God`s direction
- Provides a place to discovery purpose and an answer to “What`s next?”
- Promotes freedom of expression
- Develops the writer in you
- Gives a way to track improvement and visualize personal progress
- Provides a fun yet safe place to express wild and crazy ideas
- Assists you in the process of brainstorming and problem solving
Keeping a journal ensures that the learning doesn’t stop after the experience but continues on to the outer fringes of your life.
Some practical tips (from my experience) for effective journaling:
- Buy a notebook small enough to carry yet big enough to write in (I like the 8½ X 5½ size and prefer paper over the computer – it’s more portable and has a better “feel”)
- Determine the kind of journaling you will do – mine is about me processing life events and intended for personal and spiritual growth
- Set aside time each day and go to a place free of distractions (even a coffee shop) where you can do your journaling
- If starting, journal for 30 days then evaluate (it gives time for the habit to take root and for you to figure out your unique process)
- Integrate your journaling into other activities such as reading, listening to music, Bible reading, prayer, problem solving, blogging, etc.
- Share what you’re journaling with a trusted friend to reinforce your learning and as a way to encourage others.
What has been your experience with journaling? How could you benefit from journaling? Or how has it been a benefit to you?
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