Journaling is an activity that you can practice to help make sense of challenging thoughts and emotions. Plus, there is something cathartic about sitting down and expressing your feelings on paper. Your journal is a private space for you and your thoughts, where you can be honest without fear of judgment. As you work through your troubles in a linear and organized fashion, you can start to connect with your inner voice.
Giving You Freedom to Express Yourself
Similar to sessions with a therapist, the pen and paper are tools in aiding self-expression. If you struggle with mental health problems or trauma, you may have disturbing dreams that you are too ashamed to speak about. Maybe you have dark thoughts or taboo fantasies that you cannot even admit to yourself. Worries and fears that are consuming your mental and emotional reserves can be dealt with through the power of writing.
The great thing about journaling is that your writing never has to be aesthetically pleasing or scholarly. It is all about transposing what is going on internally to paper. Your piece can be depressing, violent, comedic, sentimental, or whatever you want. The ‘final product’ is not the point; it is all about the journey you take.
In writing therapy, you can convey whatever you are feeling inside outwardly. If you are sad or afraid during the creative process, you can cry. If you are feeling victimized, you can express defensiveness or anger. The therapist has no opinion on this matter and will not judge or punish you for how you truly feel.
Developing a Deep Understanding of Self to Grow
Thinking about what to write and how to structure your sentences taps into the brain’s left hemisphere, which is rational and analytical. By focusing on the organization of sentiments related to intrapersonal and interpersonal issues, you can start to examine them more clearly and objectively.
During this process of self-exploration, memories or insights might arise suddenly, causing you to see your character and experiences in a whole new light. You may find yourself making connections between thought and behavioral patterns, helping you to identify areas for growth while developing a sense of self-acceptance and love through understanding.
This is important because addiction can cause you to maintain destructive beliefs that can hinder self-development and recovery. It can also help you by identifying and becoming more familiar with triggers in order to overcome them.
Helping You Achieve Your Goals in Recovery
Whether you are recovering from addiction, trauma, or a mental health condition, journaling can help you achieve your recovery goals. You can use your journal to record your weekly, monthly, and yearly goals and keep track of your progress.
Since it is in writing, this record serves as a way to hold you to your word. Actions that may contribute to or take away from your life’s ambitions will become apparent. Accountability is a particular area for those recovering from addiction because without clear expectations and monitoring, it can be easy to slip back into substance abuse.
As you tick off boxes, you will gain a sense of self-efficacy and confidence. These positive feelings spill over into other areas, like developing a more positive state of mind that will propel you towards your goals.
How You Can Get Started Today
Journaling is a creative process performed in writing therapy or at home. If you want to jump right in and see how journaling works for you, use the acronym WRITE to guide you:
What do you want to write about today? Come up with a topic and jump right in. Your case can be about how you feel today or felt a year ago. It is all up to you.
Recognize how you feel throughout the writing process. Let those feelings bubble up and pass.
Investigate what you have written once you feel like you have enough material. Does anything stand out to you? Is anything starting to make more or less sense? Do you have more to add?
Time yourself based on whatever your goal is. To avoid getting overwhelmed, start off committing to five or ten minutes. Increase the time if it suits you.
Exit thoughtfully by reviewing your completed writing assignment. Are there action items that you can create for yourself to address any issues? Do you have any new goals to add to your recovery plan? Is there anything that you should talk to your therapist about?
Journaling is a chance to unpack whatever is floating around in your mind. It allows self-expression in an organized and thoughtful manner helping the writer process painful thoughts and emotions and identifying areas for self-improvement. Journaling can also help the writer achieve their recovery goals by holding them accountable and motivating them. Avalon Malibu is a residential facility that treats substance abuse, mental health disorders, and trauma in adults. We believe in allowing our clients to explore multiple paths to recovery. As a supplement to clinical modalities, nontraditional therapies offer clients a way to grow through personal experiences in activities they can use in everyday life outside of treatment. Writing therapy is one method that a trained psychotherapist administers in a class-like setting. The writing therapist will help clients develop a deeper connection and understanding of themselves, allowing them to heal. To learn more about the benefits of writing therapy, call us at: (844) 857-5992