When I have something to say, I can write away for hours in my journal; but, what good does that do? Is the act of writing down my thoughts enough to make a difference in my life? For me, it depends.
Sure, dumping out our thoughts on paper gives relief to both mind and body. Many times this can be enough to help us get to sleep or function effectively for the day. What, then, about the long term? Can there be even greater benefits involved in our writing?
I’m all about action steps and moving forward. If we journal our daily thoughts and feelings and let them sit on the page, they may or may not motivate us to DO something new or somehow resolve our state of being. So, I always end my writing time with a reflection statement.
Here’s what you do:
- When you’re finished with your journal entry, read over what you’ve just written.
- In one or two sentences, summarize what wrote.
- Now, answer one of these or all of these questions: When I read this I notice…. When I read this I feel… When I read this it makes me want to….
- Decide whether or not you want to take some type of action as a result of what you’ve gleaned from your writings and the answers to your questions.
This is a first step in taking the leap from where you are to where you want to be. You may want to list some goals associated with your insights or spend more time clarifying your feelings. Whatever the decision, try to focus on how journaling can help take you to a place of peace, happiness, freedom, or decision making.
Kathy Bornarth, MA, LPC
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