Coping with anxiety, depression, bereavement, post-traumatic stress, and other difficult situations or mental health disorders are difficult to say the least. They can shake you right down to the core of your being and leave you feeling like an empty shell. During these types of situations it’s an emotional roller coaster. Even depression can spark feelings of anger, panic and fear aside from the typical feeling of wanting to seclude yourself.
Speaking to family, friends and a therapist can go a long way to healing yourself but there are times when we don’t feel like talking but our self-talk can be overwhelming. Self-talk and thoughts can quickly consume your mind and lead down a dangerous road of emotional self-harm. When you have a multitude of emotions running through your mind it can be difficult to think straight and release the tension. It can be even more difficult if you are a private person. This is where keeping a journal can play a huge therapeutic part in helping us get through these difficult times.
Keeping a journal is a wonderful self-help therapy that can release a lot of stress and help you keep track of your emotions. For many people writing is an exercise that can be quite healing. Once you start writing you usually feel a surge of emotion but as you get it out on paper you feel it dissipate. Journaling helps clarify our emotions, get in touch with how we truly feel inside, solve problems and can help us cope with our difficulties with others.
In terms of long term healing a journal allows you to see your progress over time. Looking back at a difficult time and seeing how you got better can be a wonderful feeling. Also, particularly if you have anxiety or stress, a journal will allow you to track your triggers and any patterns that cause you to feel bad. This can be helpful if you work with a therapist and have a difficult time recalling how you felt between appointments.
If you haven’t tried journaling before you can start anytime you want. Some people prefer starting with a nice, new journal while others don’t mind using a composition book. Others like to type and might prefer a private blog or just typing in a Word document. Whichever way you choose, write for yourself. Don’t worry about mistakes or spelling errors. Just let it all flow. Write whenever you feel emotionally pent-up, even if it’s multiple times a day. Keeping a time stamp on each new entry during the day can further help you keep track of your emotional fluctuations throughout the day. The trick to journaling is to do it regularly and to be honest with your writing. Why not try it out today?
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.