Thursday, March 20, 2008

How to Journal

A journal is a most helpful tool when healing from any emotional trauma. You don't even have to like writing to benefit from writing thoughts, feelings, beliefs, desires, needs, and memories in a notebook.

The benefits of journaling during the healing process are huge! Putting on paper the things that have been buried inside yourself, acknowledges reality and thaws denial's icy grip. Identifying beliefs in a journal, opens up new possibilities for choosing which beliefs we will cherish and which ones we are ready to dismiss. Journaling emotions helps release you from their silent but pervasive control.

So, how does one journal for maximum results? Try these guidelines whether you are brand new to journaling or whether you've been doing it for awhile:

1. Involve God in your journal efforts. Pray asking for wisdom, discernment, and healing.

2. Give yourself permission to write honestly. Don't censor yourself.

3. Forget writing rules. Your journal will not be graded.

4. Protect your journal as a private place. If you live with an abuser, hide it.

5. Share something specific from your journal with a friend or counselor--when you want to.

6. Experiment with different types of entries (fairy tale of your life, poem, letters, compare and contrast charts, etc.)

7. Reserve a set time of day to journal.

8. Commit to 10 minute a day minimum if you are reluctant to journal.

9. Use both sides of your brain. The right hemisphere will be engaged by any creative writing, writing with a crayon, or doodling. The left hemisphere will be engaged by analytical lists, charts, or pie diagrams.

10. Just do it. Journal daily for two weeks and see what happens.

If you've had success with different journaling techniques or exercises, please post a comment. I'd love to keep on learning about this marvelous healing tool.

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Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft