Over the years I’ve worked with many clients who did not want to journal. I have heard lots of excuses and used many of them myself at times…
”I don’t have time”
“I don’t know what to write”
“It’s not going to help anyway”
“I don’t want to see what’s inside me”
“I’d rather think about things than write them down”
“I’m afraid someone will read what I wrote”
“If I write things down than I will have to do something about them”
“I will have to take action then”
“I don’t like to write”
“I don’t write well”
I can go on and on. Journaling is an amazing tool and it provides a way for you to understand your feelings, track your progress and hold yourself accountable.
There is no right or wrong way to journal or an ideal time for journaling. It is your private journal and no one should read it unless of course you want them to. You need to be totally open and honest with yourself. You don’t want to edit what you write as if someone else was going to read it. It does not matter if it is sloppy or that you make grammatical errors, no one is checking your work. I like to journal in the morning, some people journal during their lunch break or at bedtime. You fit it in your schedule where it works best. It should be something you look forward to doing, quiet time for yourself.
If you would rather type than write then you can journal in your computer by opening a word document and start with the date, type your entry and then save the document. You will want to go back to the same document the next day, type the date in and start your entry, then save when completed. This way you have one journal document. I have had clients that like to use the “notes app” on their phone as well to journal. I prefer pen and paper myself, my thoughts flow much better. You use what works best for you.
If you have trouble knowing what to start writing about, just ask yourself, “how has my day been going, what was good, what was bad, what did I notice about myself or others today, ” whatever comes up as an answer to those questions is what you write down. You never need to start at the beginning of a story like a narrative, you know all of the stories and the writing is for your benefit. It should become automatic writing, or a stream of consciousness, or whatever pops in your mind.
You NEVER judge what you are writing, even if you don’t like what you are saying, it doesn’t matter. You are eventually going to see differences in thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Some people say that their writing is scattered and all over the place or that they keep writing about the same things over and over again. It is all okay, you are just seeing what is going on in your head and you cannot fix or heal anything unless you are willing to look at your truth and be honest with yourself. No JUDGING just OBSERVING what your thoughts and feelings are. We don’t judge a feeling or thought as good or bad, this is what the EGO does and this creates all of the shame and guilt we feel or hide from ourselves.
I can write for 5 minutes or 5 hours, it depends on what wants to come out. I just stop when I am finished. Do not be afraid to look inside, you already know every story, and if you feel fearful of what you write, it is just something for you to learn about yourself, heal it and build confidence in knowing that you can handle your own feelings.