“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~William Wordsworth
Have you ever thought of journaling? Maybe a therapist suggested it (maybe me), or a friend, or your high school English teacher. Maybe you saw a social media post promoting it. Journaling became a popular pandemic past-time (The Pandemic Journaling Project) as a way to connect during extreme isolation. Maybe you have tried it before, or always been curious, or always been skeptical.
So, why journal?
A Safe Space
The journal is a safe space to hold thoughts, emotions, ideas, dreams, even somatic sensations, without the pressure to edit, curate, or compose. There are no rules to follow, no social etiquette to consider, no repercussions to imagine. The page is yours.
A Reflective Space
The journal provides space to work through things. In your journal you can reflect on events, emotions, dreams, relationships. You might use the page to give space to a conflict, reckon with complex emotions, or consider a new perspective. If you are in therapy, you might journal after a session to further explore what came up for you.
An Expressive Space
The journal is a space to express emotions (to vent), especially the ones we edit out for popular consumption. In your journal you can give voice to your anger, sadness, shame, fear, guilt, rage, anxiety, jealousy... and your joy, delight, amusement, love, hope. You might even try writing from the perspective of an emotions. Your journal can take any form: narrative, bullet, art, graphic, etc. This is your outlet.
A Memory Space
The journal helps you keep track. The journal is a living document of past, present, and future. Your journal is a great space to mark down changes, transitions, new perspectives, ideas, and growth. If you are in therapy, you can also use your journal to record ideas or topics you want to discuss in session.
A Self-Soothing Space
The journal is a space to soothe yourself: writing, drawing, bulleting, collaging, etc., are all ways to manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Your journal can be a space to write down anxieties so they stop cycling within your mind. Your journal can be a space to write down inspiring quotes, ideas, hopes, or narratives to return to in difficult moments. Your journal can be a space to express gratitude for everything you appreciate in your life.
If this post inspires you, I always recommend finding a journal you connect with—select your journal with care. You want this to be a space you feel welcomed. Maybe you are drawn to a particular size or shape of journal. Maybe you want lines or blank pages, or both. Maybe you want inspiring quotes sprinkled throughout. Maybe you like a particular cover or brand (my current favorite). I invite you to choose a journal like a good friend—someone you trust who you will want to return to again and again.
I hope journaling helps you on your path of discovery!
For more information about therapy with Eve, visit here.