How to Journal

Writing, and maybe doodling or adding images and colour, provides a way for you to come into a deeper contact and understanding with yourself, and work through your issues, gradually and at your own pace. Journal therapy can be stand-alone and self-guided, and an optional practice to support you to get the most out of your counselling journey, and beyond.

How you connect with yourself is crucial. Please give yourself the time and space to bring inner warmth to your difficulties, and this is how gradually it's possible to illuminate your unconscious mind and start creating an inner transformation and healing that is lead by you. Like talking in counselling, journalling is a way to concentrate your energy and awareness on your mental health and personal development.

Every writer has many voices to write from. I recommend choosing a warm, accepting, and compassionate inner voice to write from as you meet the parts of you that may be suffering or experiencing a "low" or even a "high". If it's hard to access this inner warmth, then start by thinking about someone, somewhere or something you appreciate and let that feeling soak in your mind, heart and body for a while and you may begin to relax and feel more creative and inspired. Include all parts of you in your embrace, as you find words to explore and resonate with them, and consistently offer them your warmth and care.  For example, the anxious worrier who is concerned about this and that, the creative one who just wants to make something, or the fearful child who feels unseen and unheard; whatever parts of you arise, give them your attention and kindness.

To begin writing, please use a preferred notebook that you will consistently use as your journal (alternatively, you could make a digital recording or type in an app such as Stoic or Therapeze). You may write whatever comes into your heart and mind. Journaling can be a letter to yourself e.g. starting with "hello", or it can be a written stream of consciousness, perhaps starting with "I am aware that a part of me is feeling___/thinking about____" or, otherwise you may start writing about what you can sense (e.g. see, hear, smell, taste, touch), or even write a poem. These are just some examples. There are endless ways to journal. Getting started is the main thing. You could start by writing for 5 - 10 minutes every morning with your first cup of water or tea. Once you notice the benefits, you may wish to extend it longer in future, for example up to 30 or more if you wish.  

Of course it's optional whether or not you choose to journal, however you may experience an increase in peace of mind if you do this on a regular basis. You can journal as an ongoing practice, and then when you are in a difficult moment, you will be more likely to have some personal insight to apply to your situation, and you will also have the habit to turn to writing to work through the issues. It's all in your hands, and up to you.

You may discover metaphors and words to describe and respond to your thoughts, moods and feelings e.g. stormy, bright, heavy, light, foggy, clear. If you're interested in learning more about how words can enhance your self awareness and positive personality change, please click the link below for further resources and guidance.