How Simple Journaling Can Help Recovery
Journaling is paying attention to the inside for the purpose of living well from the inside out.” Lee WiseIs journaling something you’re interested in?Have you considered it as a tool to get your thoughts out so that you feel better?
You may find it impossible to sleep because your mind is filled with thoughts going 100 miles an hour. Carving out a moment’s peace may seem impossible.
Starting a journal can help resolve these issues and lead to more benefits than you can imagine.
According to Dr. James Pennebaker, writing even three or four times, for ten to fifteen minutes each time, will help you heal much faster from trauma. If you feel traumatized by your experience with your child’s drug or alcohol use, take a few minutes and write down your thoughts. It helps to clear the mind chatter that can keep you feeling depressed, anxious, and stressed.
The act of emptying your mind of all the jumbled thoughts and feelings whirling around at breakneck speeds will help quiet your mind and bring clarity. Developing a regular writing practice will help you achieve goals. You can gain a new perspective by looking back at previous struggles to remind yourself how far you have come. Strength and courage come when you face your current problems head-on.As a parent with an adult child struggling with substance use or recovery, it helps to practice self-care and express your feelings and frustrations. Your journal can be honest, candid letters to your child filled with all your hopes for them and everything you are afraid to say out loud because of the possible negative effects on their recovery. The journal is for your eyes only, of course, and you can ensure that by locking it in a drawer or keeping it at work. Another option is to keep your journal on your computer rather than handwriting it so that you can take advantage of password protection.“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” Mina Murray BENEFITS OF JOURNALING Journaling encourages healing from the inside out by strengthening your immune system.
Research has shown that journaling helps speed up recovery because it increases self-knowledge and helps to get in touch with emotions, thoughts, and feelings. It is a healthy way to process daily life and to uncover patterns and root causes.
Developing a regular journaling practice can be more beneficial than therapy. It certainly is less expensive and accessible to everyone. Journaling helps to reduce the risk of relapse, relieve stress, and increase overall mental health. Over time, reviewing old journals will remind you of all the progress you have made and strengthen your resolve to overcome future challenges. Writing down plans for the future and goals involves your subconscious to help make them a reality.Journaling helps us get in touch with our intuition, so we experience more “a-ha” moments.
Keeping a private journal ensures we can be truly honest with ourselves. It helps to develop critical thinking skills and improve decision making.“Keeping a journal of what’s going on in your life is a good way to help you distill what’s important and what’s not.” Martina Navratilova JOURNALING STYLEST here are many different types of journaling. Here are some to choose from and try. A stream of consciousness: this style is a good way to develop a consistent journaling practice. Set a timer for about 20 minutes and begin writing. Let your thoughts pour out onto the paper. Don’t focus on style or structure or give any thought to whether your writing makes sense or has correct spelling, punctuation, and/or grammar. The only goal is to record your thoughts and feelings.
Diary: developing the daily habit of recording events and happenings is beneficial for everyone, whether your life is chaotic or stable. Begin by simply making a list of your activities. It may evolve into exploring your thoughts and feelings. Who knows, your notes may be helpful in the future if you choose to write down your story to benefit your family and/or others.
Gratitude journal: by focusing on what is good in your life, even if it is as basic as waking up with a healthy body or enjoying your morning coffee, you can change your outlook and move away from negativity. We all have many blessings even when we are at rock bottom or the end of our rope. The daily ritual of expressing thanks in a journal will help refocus your energy and change your life.
Personal development journaling for spiritual, exercise, and wellness: if you are trying to change an aspect of your life or form healthier habits, targeted writing can help. Writing down your intentions makes them tangible. It sends the message to your subconscious mind that you are focused and ready to make positive changes.Art journaling: if you don’t enjoy writing, there are many other ways to release your emotions and find clarity. For example, choose photos from magazines to make a collage that represents your feelings and thoughts. Or draw, paint, or create to tap into the power of art therapy. Your mind and hands will be busy creating, and negative thoughts and cravings will fade away as a bonus.“The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams, is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal.” Robin Sharma GETTING STARTED If you have never kept a journal or diary before, you may be intimidated and unsure about how to begin.
Step one is to choose a notebook or purchase one of the many types of journals available at bookstores and gift shops. If you are repurposing a notebook, you can add a new cover or decorate it to help create your new journaling practice.Next, consider the best time of day to add journaling to your routine. Perhaps you want to set aside time in the evening before bedtime to journal, or maybe you prefer to write first thing in the morning as you have your morning coffee or tea. As with all new habits, finding a consistent time each day or several times a week will increase your success and maximize the benefits for your health and wellbeing.
Now decide how much time you want to devote to each journaling session. Set a timer for 5 minutes or longer or set a minimum or maximum page limit. You may want to begin with no rules and just let your writing happen. You can always change your process or adjust it over time.
Once you begin journaling, you will be rewarded in ways you cannot imagine. It will improve your self-knowledge and improve your relationships with others. Add journaling to your recovery toolbox. You will be so happy with the results.
Has journaling helped you? Let us know in the comments!