Journaling and It’s Postive Outcome

Journaling and It’s Postive Outcome

Each person will journal in their own way. It is a personal journey to greater self-understanding. Some journal each day, others when they want to work out a problem or document an “ah ha” moment. Know there are many articles and books available to teach you how to journal but the key to journaling is to understand up front what you want to accomplish by journaling. Some different types of journaling are: daily writing of the events of the day, working in your journal only when you have a situation you want to work out, setting a time limit of say six weeks and setting up your goals as to what you want to accomplish before you start the journal (I use this technique in my courses. Setting up a particular problem and then working it out in a set amount of time), using the journal as a place to record specific activities such as eating, weight loss, medical conditions, or any other issue you are working through. I have my counseling clients journal during our sessions, making notes of questions I ask them to work on that week, recording insights during the session and allowing them to continue the journaling with the homework I give them for the week. In this way, they can look back and see not only progress but can use it as a reference if a similar situation should arise again. You can also use your journal as a place to keep positive reminders of your life like a scrapbook. If you find a picture that speaks to you place it in your journal and record how you reacted to the picture. Kathy pointed out that she used journaling when working with grief counseling. I use journaling with my clients to allow them a space to focus on a problem/solution activity.
Journaling can have a positive effect on your behavior and well-being and behavior if it: Makes you step back and evaluate your thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Explores solutions. Brings your emotions and motivations into alignment with your deepest values. Converts negative energy into positive energy. Lowers your emotional reactions to others. Increases tolerance of ambiguity, ambivalence, and unpredictability which are part of normal living. Helps you take a definite course of action.
Journaling can become a negative activity if you focus only on negative things that have happened to you without seeking solution/understanding of the experience or becomes a vehicle of blame instead of a road to solution acquisition. You control what you receive from journaling by creating a clear series of sentences about a problem or negative feeling you feel you need to express and then take an objective look at the feelings; were they fact based, what from your past may have impacted how you reacted to the current situation, define the feeling/reaction to decide if there is a positive way to react to the same situation in the future. Can you turn this negative experience into a positive experience by learning from it to create positive self-growth? Create a plan of action in case the situation presents itself again so you are prepared as best as you can to meet the challenge with knowledge instead of just feelings.
My surrogate grandfather, who would be 103 if he was still alive, had a large calendar where he would document his life. If I would have told him he was journaling he would have scoffed at me and told me not to bring that psychobabble I was learning at the new-fangled University into his home. But that is what he was doing. In the right top corner of each day he would put the weather as it was important to him. On the right bottom corner, he would put a number from 1-10 which documented how he was feeling, since he was wounded in the war and suffered pain from the scrap metal in his hip. He would put a smiling face or a frowning face in the left bottom corner to document how the day was. He always documented his visitors for the day by naming them and if they did something interesting or celebrated something he would put it on the calendar. He would document where he went and who he went with if he had an outing that day. As he aged family members used his calendar to know what was going on in his life. When he passed on it was a nice way to celebrate his life by looking back at the 40 odd years of calendars he had saved.
If you would like to begin journaling, do a little google research to read about different types of journaling and decide what will fit your needs and what type of journal you would like to keep and then go and enjoy the documentation of your life.


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