Journaling through unprecedented times offers us a safe and therapeutic way to explore our thoughts and emotions, which can help us feel more empowered.

This morning I was reflecting on the past six months, and the enormity of the somewhat traumatic changes we have all faced and continue to face.

Often when we think of trauma, we think of worst-case situations – but trauma is experienced in such an individual way. What one person views as a small challenge that can be easily overcome, another may view as insurmountable.

However, when it comes to trauma, one thing is constant – the mind responds in a certain way.

When we experience trauma and upheaval, the mind automatically tries to perceive and process what has happened. The more difficult this is for the mind, the more it will try to put together puzzle pieces it cannot truly comprehend.

When we are going through this, we may find our thoughts become consumed by what has happened, or, depending on the severity of the experience, large chunks of memories become altered or suppressed in an attempt to protect ourselves.

As we continue to face uncertainty, many of us are indeed finding our thoughts are consumed by what is going on.

One thing is for sure, we have all been affected and gathering close a range of tools that can help us navigate our way through these unprecedented times is vital.

That is where journaling comes in.

When our minds are racing and we are trying to make sense of our experience, it can be difficult to work through our jumbled thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, even talking about it seems impossible.

Journaling offers us a safe and different way to express ourselves. On the page we can work through our thoughts and feelings, which gives us more clarity and a sense of control.

If you are interested in using a journal to support yourself through these times, there are several different formats that can be used:

Journal formats

Personal journal

In this journal, you write about your day – your feelings, details of what you encountered, and various events. Then, by reflecting over what you have written you can gain insight into some of your behavioural and emotional tendencies. It’s a great way to increase self-awareness, and see clearly any habits that may not be serving you.

Gratitude journal

This is a more focussed journal which is geared around defining what you feel thankful for. This type of journal is useful during ongoing challenges, as it helps us see that there is always something to be thankful for, even it’s as simple as being able to clean our teeth!

Goal focused journal

I personally find this type of journal helpful at the moment. It’s the place where you can create and write about both long, and short-term goals. It helps you stay accountable to yourself, and it’s also a great reminder that even though there is so much out of our control, it’s still possible to set and achieve goals, such as eating a more healthy diet, or exercising more.

Other goals can be around showing more loving kindness to others, even when one is feeling stressed.

Setting feel good goals helps us keep a better sense of perspective.

Journaling doesn’t require much time

Using journal therapy doesn’t take much time, writing for just 15 minutes a day can make a huge difference to the way we feel. As someone who has used journal therapy for decades, I admit I am biased. But if you are feeling overwhelmed and are struggling to deal with things, I encourage you to try it for a couple of weeks.

If you feel you would like support in getting started, I offer one to one journal therapy coaching, and have several self-paced online courses to get you started.

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