When clients come in, I will often assign the homework of journaling. It is often followed by a long sigh by the client. I try to stop people right there- journaling should not be a chore, but a release. The purpose is to move forward and not stay stuck! In this blog we are going to talk about how to journal so that it isn’t such a pain in the rear! By the time you have tweaked your journaling, you will be excited to journal!
- Don’t write a book. Somewhere in our history we were told that journaling is your life in detail. I love to eliminate this myth from the get go. Journaling does not need to be a detailed account of every time you scratched your butt that day. Journaling does not even need to be done every day, its simply there when you need it. Writing a detailed account of your day has no benefit to your mental health.
- Use it when you need it. If you find yourself stuck, anxious, confused, or depressed, that’s when I want you to journal. For example, if you are stuck in the possibility of ending a codependent relationship, make a pros and cons list, circle the most important thing to you in each column and evaluate. This is a useful form of journaling.
- Show your gratitude. I love the idea of a gratitude journal. If you are finding that when you journal it is nothing but a pity party for yourself, it’s time to change something up. Some people even report that journaling increased their depression, because of the writing style. Write about what you are grateful for! Even if it’s something small, write it down, this will surely battle depression.
I teach my clients that, as odd as it seems, the best time to journal is when things are good. Write about what is helping you, coping skills that are working, and what you are grateful for. When you are going through a difficult time, go back and read these entries and you will find ideas on how to move through and move on from your funk. If you really get stuck, there are a ton of guided journals out there that are fun and entertaining! My favorite can be found at: http://knockknockstuff.com/product-category/journals-notebooks/