Keeping a journal or personal diary is one of mankind’s’ oldest traditions. We can easily experience the thoughts, feelings and emotions our distant relatives may have felt when reading their preserved words and countless pages that are kept private throughout the life of the writer.
You don’t have to be female to enjoy the benefits that keeping a journal provide. The therapeutic effects that work for everyone regardless of gender.
Sometimes the simple act of writing down a past trauma allows you to face it more fully and release any negative feelings associated with the event. You can even journal short-term for healing on a specific trauma. Burning or destroying it at the end of the healing process can be a very symbolic realization of freedom for many people.
Many people keep daily and weekly journals their entire lives. It is an excellent form of communication that benefits you whether or not your journey is specific to a certain trauma you experienced.
Posting in a journal or diary can take many formats. You can even come up with your own style that suits your specific needs.
Types of Journaling
Freeform thought –
Freeform writing is a technique used by many authors and aspiring writers to jump-start creativity. It’s the perfect avenue for releasing thoughts you may be hiding even from yourself and the perfect starting point for beginners. Use whatever instrument feels comfortable, sit down and start writing. Spelling, grammar and even coherence are not that important. Your focus needs to be whatever comes to mind. Do this for 5 minutes to give your mental engine a good warm-up and if you want to keep writing then go ahead. Daily freeform writing is one of the most therapeutic practices available today.
Memory release –
This type of journaling is exactly what it sounds like. You merely write down your memories of trauma and any feelings associated with them and then release those negative feelings. When you finally have then all on paper, they no longer live in your heart or mind and that’s why it is very effective to destroy the journal when you are finished.
Dear Jerk Letters –
If there was one specific person or even a group of people involved in your trauma, writing a letter or a series of letters to them can be helpful in transcending your trauma. You may not ever send the letters, but putting down what you would say to them on paper can be immensely satisfying on a personal level. You can give then creative names such as Dear Jerk.
Story-form therapy –
When traumas are too fresh and painful to relive fully, writing a fictionalized account of the experience can be extremely healing and helpful towards releasing negative emotions. Changing the names, locations, ages or even genders of the participants will give you a more objective view of the situation and assist you in coping to find closure. You can even create alternate versions to help displace bad feelings. Write yourself a happy ending.
Pictoral journals –
Often times words don’t seem adequate enough to convey your traumatic emotions. If this is the case, consider a drawing journal instead. You don’t have to be an artist, use whatever form feels comfortable, abstract scribbling, a fully detailed rendering or even stick figures will work.
Even the size, layout, look and feel of your journal should be taken into consideration. Take your time picking one as it needs to be symbolic, either of your intentions or your personality and something you enjoy holding onto and looking at. If you want your journal to be private, invest in one with a lock.
Stay away from using pencil as it conveys a temporary state that can be changed with the pass of an eraser. Pen or marker are good choices, but keep it special and use it only for writing in your journal – not for making grocery lists and jotting down information.
Keep your journal in a permanent place and keep it there unless you are writing in it. This eliminates any possibility of misplacing it and helps reinforce permanence and form new habits.
Keeping a diary or journaling daily is an excellent choice for healing past traumas and filling your life with happy, healthy thoughts.
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