I just got through doing some journaling, and I thought that might be something to talk about here since it can be a very useful tool.
People have often asked me if I ever intended for my journals to be read by anyone, and if not, why journal at all?
Personally, I don’t want people reading my journals because of the way I use them.
I don’t chronicle my general activities or much of my hopes or dreams. Instead I use journaling as an outlet for (basically) inappropriate thoughts and feelings.
One example is that fairly often I have obsessive thinking that I can’t easily shake off. I might be caught in a loop, thinking the same series of thoughts over and over again. I’ve found that if I sit down and write out the thoughts I can break the loop, and I’m no longer forced into thinking the same thing repeatedly.
Another situation I might use journaling in is if I’m very frustrated or angry. I can sit down and write whatever I want, weather it is general or hurtful or way out in left field, it doesn’t matter because nobody will be reading it. Once I finish I usually feel a lot more calm and levelheaded.
I would say the most often I use journaling for acknowledging my fears. If I have been worked up about a situation, I can write about what I’m afraid might happen going forward, which usually gives those fears a lot less umph in my own mind.
I also occasionally use journaling as a mood tracking tool. I only tend to journal in times when I am feeling something strongly, so I can look back through the journals to get a feel for when I was feeling intensely angry, or hopeless, or grandiose.
Overall, there is something about writing down specific thoughts I have that is extremely helpful for breaking the cycle of upset. I would highly recommend it, all you need is a piece of paper and a writing utensil, and then unleash whatever emotion you’re feeling onto the page. Write what you think and feel as you think and feel it, and you might be surprised at how much better you feel afterward!
(And if you’re worried about someone reading what you wrote, you can always destroy the evidence afterward!)