You may have heard about journaling but aren't quite sure how to start, what to write or really why to even do it. Is it really all it's cracked up to be? Is it really going to help you in some way? The answer is a Big Fat Yes.
The simple act of jotting down our internal dialogue to paper can be very cathartic (meaning it can provide psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions). When we are experiencing anger, frustration, despair or hurt (just to name a few), our minds often try to work out the difficulties through repetitive thoughts. The truth is that our thoughts are what cause us to feel emotions, the good kind and the bad kind. So when we allow our thoughts to run rampant on a tangent, we can become flooded with an unessaary amount of emotional pain.
There is something powerful when you take pen to paper and actually write out how you're feeling. You suddenly release the repetitive thought from your body and this can literally shift the energy pertaining to the topic. It allows you to see the circumstance you are facing from more of an observer point of view, rather than that of an experiencer having the raw emotion. This ensures you can see the situation with a more clear perspective which also allows you to feel more empowered.
I suggest starting journalling by thinking of it as how you'd want to go about cleaning the floor. If you have a topic giving you grief you need to first address that topic. As a metaphor, think of the topic (giving you an emotional charge) as the dirt that is scattered over the floor that needs to be cleaned up. Next I suggest writing out what person/relationship, circumstance or thing is causing this charge or this feeling of disharmony. Think of this as addressing and acknowledging the mess (or getting the broom and sweeping up the dirt). Skipping this step is equivalent to simply placing a rug overtop the pile of dirt. You know the mess is still there and avoiding it will only breed deeper emotional pain. Acknowledgement and reflection as to how you feel and WHY you feel a certain way is the key.
Second, it is very helpful to now place a more positive spin on the topic. For example, if you have recently experienced heartbrake or received news of an illness or disease, it may leave you feeling disempowered. However, what if your perspective of the event shifted even slightly? Making a list of positive aspects with what has transpired is how to create a shift.
For example, your partner has betrayed your trust and is leaving you for another person. What could possibly be the silver lining in this? Well, for one, now for the first time in your life you get a chance to completely focus your energy on you... no one else. You get to prioritize yourself. There is freedom in this unfolding. You now get to pursue your interests and get to know yourself much better, on a deeper level. You get to connect back to the source of who and what your are. You get to deepen your love affair with yourself. The journey back to self through love and care is an incredible one and not everyone gets to experience this. Often we require a difficult & life changing event (such as an illness or breakup) to act like a catalyst to force us out of our comfort zone and into a new way of being a living in this world.
I hope this simple act of journaling can help you navigate the rocky waters that are inevitable in this beautiful and mysterious game of life.