As a child I remember constantly writing short-stories, poems, and even my inner most thoughts. As a young girl I found that expressing my feeling towards what I thought to be unfair situations helped me to channel my frustrations into an outlet that helped relieve my stress. Never did I realize just how therapeutic such a tool was until I became a therapist.
When individual's think about journaling they often assume you are talking about writing in a diary. Although there are some similarities shared between the two, there are just a many differences. Both a journal and diary are written from a personal perspective and are considered to be a record keeping tool. However, that is about as far as the similarities go.
On the other hand, there are clear differences between the two. How many of you remember "Kitty" from your middle school Language Arts class? Anne Frank named her diary "Kitty" and would write to her daily sharing her secrets and activities. A diary is a tool that allows an individual to keep a record of their daily activities and other things going on around them. Journals, however, are more thought provoking, elicits feelings, and promotes self-awareness.
I came to realize the Power of Journaling after becoming a therapist and going through the state licensure supervision process. During an afternoon supervision session in 2010 with Dr. L. Spencer, I was encouraged to channel my younger self and work through issues I never dealt with as a child. I was resistant to his suggestion intitally, but after thinking about what he said I found myself standing in the Barnes and Nobles bookstore deciding on what type of journal I was going to use for my personal therapy. What happened next has been both enlightening and fulfilling. Three years and five journals later, I learned so much about myself both personally and professionally. I began to develop goals and still continue to work through my issues.
Using my journal as a coping mechanism has gotten me through a lot of rough days and allowed me to open up. I experience a sense of calmness once I am able to write down my thoughts and feeling.
Many believe Journaling to be therapeutically effective. Journaling is just as effective outside of the therapy room. Clients are able to work on themselves to develop a sense of awareness outside of the therapy room. Ever since I have shared my journaling experience with my friends through social media, I have had several individuals inquire as to how to begin journaling.
For those who are interested in journaling, I have found journaling start-up prompts such: "I get upset when....", "I am most fearful of.......", "I wish that.......", "Change is......."; and the list goes on and on.I have a wide range of topics that I've covered in my past three years of journaling, some focused on daily struggles with coworkers, friends, family member; things I've learned about myself as a counselor; experiences working not only in the counseling field but in a prison; accomplishments and failures; etc.
Journaling is what you make of it. There isn't a wrong or right way to journal. You don't have to write everyday and it surely doesn't have to be perfect. Ultimately, it's a way to collect all of your thoughts into one place. Revisiting these thoughts allows you to see your growth in specific areas of your life and help you continue to develop a sense of awareness in yourself.
Are you ready to experience the Power of Journaling?
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