Journaling and acknowledging scary thoughts

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    I have an on-again-off-again relationship with journaling. I love the idea behind it but I have a hard time committing. However, when I am journaling regularly I see the benefits almost immediately. I imagine most people have a similar struggle as journaling can feel silly at times.

    Because journaling was/is not natural for me I had to establish a habit and here is what I found most helpful.

    Journaling tip #1

    Find a journal you want to write in.

    This may seem pointless but if you like what you write in–you’ll be more likely to keep it up. I got these small journals from an old roommate and since then they are my go-to journal. For me the size is perfect and they are great for on-the-go.

    I am a sucker for a nice journal but after years of purchasing journals and never using them I realized I just needed something simple. But pick something that you love because, chances are, it will be private so it only matters what you like.

     Journaling tip #2

    Don’t judge yourself and just write what comes to mind.

    Start with a free write and just get everything out there on the page. I read about this technique in Katie Dalebout’s book Let It Out and it is essentially a brain dump. You let the pen or pencil write whatever comes to your mind and acknowledge it.

    I find this most helpful when I am anxious and through writing whatever comes to mind I am telling my thoughts that I acknowledge them and then I can let them go. This may seem very simple but it is actually much harder than I expected to write down thoughts you feel uncomfortable about.

    One time prior to me getting on medication, I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated about something that happened between Nolan and I. I don’t even remember what it was now but I remember it made me question where we were going.

    I took some time to write out all the thoughts going through my brain and even though it was just words, writing out the phrase “Is it time for us to break up?” scared the shit out of me. After I wrote out my worries I began thinking of all the wonderful things about my relationship and I was able to write my way through my anxiety.

    Anxiety clings to one or two thoughts or sensation for me and they are usually negative. When I am spiraling journaling allows an outlet for irrational thoughts and once they are out there it is like my mind can relax again.

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    Journaling tip #3

    Dedicate time to journaling–especially when starting out.

    There is a lot of debate on what it takes to make a habit but I think we all have it in us to take 5-10 minutes each day to write. Whether you write in the morning or evening, there is no right way it is just whatever works for you.

    The goal is to just do a little each day and there is no right or wrong way. I still have days where I forget to take the time to write and sometimes I think it is fine to substitute a blog post for journaling but the two are very different.

    Journaling tip #4

    If it isn’t for you–it isn’t for you.

    Don’t force it too much. I would say try to dedicate one week as a trial and if you dread it every time maybe it isn’t for you. My struggle was wanting to journal but just not really knowing where to start–but I always had the passion for it.

    There are so many ways to express yourself and de-stress so if journaling isn’t for you try something else.
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    I guess the moral of this blog post is to try it out. Try writing out all your thoughts and you just might be surprised with what you work out.