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How to Journal for Therapy

How to Journal for Therapy

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Journaling isn’t just for teens who want to write about their torrid longing for a One Direction band member. It can be a powerful, even magical tool, for releasing unnecessary and emotional baggage in adults. The daily/weekly exercise of purging all the thoughts that swirl around in your head and writing about what is stressing you out can actually help you keep from carrying that weight around with you… because once you spend a good jam session typing out your frustrations, stresses, and fears, you give yourself permission to let it go and move on.

  1. Keeping a journal can help organize all of your thoughts (i.e. fears, stressors, frustrations) and allows you to think about your next steps in tackling a hairy problem or anxiety-provoking situation. Journaling helps you focus on the root of any persistent problem you’re having (i.e. getting over a failed relationship or coping with parenting stress).
  2. Give your best friend a break. Instead of rehashing a particular anxiety with your best pal who’s heard it all before, write it down in a journal instead.
  3. Daily or weekly entries can document and track your progress on an issue, for yourself and even for your therapist. Entries can shed light on how you reacted to certain life situations, and even reveal bad coping mechanisms you might have used to help deal with stress and anxiety.
  4. Simply enough, journaling is great “me time!” What better way is there than to spend ten minutes a day focusing just on yourself?
  5. If you are afraid that another family member might stumble upon your journal, consider starting a free, anonymous account on the many available journal or blog sites online. You can often set your posts to private so they are for your eyes only. This sense of confidence in your privacy can allow you to really open up and be candid or brutally honest with yourself.
  6. Words aren’t the only way to express yourself and the way you’re feeling. Get creative! You can use images, either on an online journaling site, or doing it old-school by cutting out images and pasting them into a notebook. You can even go ‘big’ and create a giant dream board.

Looking for counseling resources? You can read The Two Wolves and Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.

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