Writing to Heal: The Power of Journaling and How To Do It Right

I always thought people in the movies writing down all their unspoken thoughts and throwing the paper after is a little bit cliche. Well, that was before I discovered the power of journaling.

As humans, we deal with emotions, and emotions can be overpowering. It’s a basic human instinct to be guided by emotions, and emotions can sometimes make us say and do things that we will eventually regret.
Referred to by experts as a tool to help us sharpen our mental and emotional prowess, journaling everything that we want to express can be a remedy to emotion-driven actions that are always accompanied by regrets.

How can Journaling Heal You? 

When Sheryl Sandberg, the powerful COO of Facebook lost her husband, she considered journaling a major factor in her journey of grief. Each day, Sandberg would write down her thoughts, and three things that she’s grateful for. And for the lady boss, journaling is her self-compassion tool.

A tool for self-compassion – a most appropriate way to refer to journaling. I think there are two ways that prove this to be true.

First, unexpressed emotions hurt us. When we bottle up so much of our emotions, especially heavy, bitter ones, negative energy can gradually consume us. Sometimes, this energy translates to being angered easily, feeling anxious, or getting burnt out with emotional and mental exhaustion.

Second, we can also be too unkind to ourselves. The way we talk to ourselves, and how we perceive ourselves can be riddled with negativity.

It takes expression and self-evaluation to see that we can be better.

With journaling, we get to express and bring out words that depict our deepest, rawest, most real emotions. Journaling is a private conversation with yourself, a process where you can be true and vulnerable because you know no one will judge you. Writing down our emotions is therapeutic, we can be real, and this authenticity allows us to recognize what our emotions are. Journaling makes it possible for you to embrace your true emotions instead of masking it away. Acknowledging our pain, anger, jealousy, insecurities, and bitterness is challenging but an immensely powerful step towards healing.

Scribbling down our thoughts, observations, and impressions can also help us see from a larger lens the way we talk to ourselves, the way we feel towards people, and how we respond to a trigger in our lives. Journaling helps us become mindful and self-reflect. It always amazes me how I would be caught off guard when I read my journal. I see so many areas where I can be kinder, more understanding, and more compassionate with myself. I notice the negative self-talk and judgments in my head. Thoughts can be fleeting, but when journaling paves the way for mindfulness, we begin to intently process our words, our feelings, our unexpressed thoughts. We begin to be more in touch with mindfulness which, in turn, helps us see ourselves and the situations around us better.

How Can I Make Journaling Work for Me? 

We should thank the Universe for the fact that journaling is for everyone. I admit consistency is a major part of the whole journaling process. The moment we start scribbling again, the self-awareness expands further and healing also resumes.

But how do you make journaling work?

First, choose a schedule. 

Consistently writing in our journal can be challenging (hello, responsibilities and work!). Journaling is a task you can easily put on the back burner. I’ve done it so many times too, but if you want to stay consistent with journaling, set a schedule where you will write down everything you’re feeling. Make a commitment to stick with it until journaling becomes a habit. Keeping a record every day will eventually reveal to you the progress you have made.

Second, begin with a theme in mind. 

For Sheryl Sandberg, she makes sure she lists down three things she’s grateful for. During the time when her grief was overwhelming, these three things enabled her to stay grounded. Listing down things she was grateful for stopping her from being consumed by grief.

When writing a journal, create a theme based on your current need. If you want to rant, rant. If you want to brag, brag. If you want to vent out your frustrations, do it. Knowing what to write even before you sit down to scribble can make journal writing more purposeful.

Third, open your heart and be 100% honest. 

Speak out your heart. Speak about your rawest, most real emotions. Don’t hold anything back. Being honest in expressing your emotions can be therapeutic and healing. It also reveals issues and challenges that you might be buried in your subconscious.

Fourth, take a moment to reflect. 

After writing, take the time to read and understand what you have expressed in your notes.

Every time I read my journal, I am surprised at the amount of realization I can get from just one entry. I often catch myself saying “Oh, I shouldn’t have said that” and “Okay, I was out of line with that one.” Self-reflection comes pretty naturally when you re-read what you’ve written.

Journaling helps us become more objective in how we deal with our issues and problems. It’s like taking a step back and watching you navigate through your adulting issues. Because journaling pushes us to become more mindful and conscious, we see where we need to improve on, why we need to change, and what we need to do to make things better for us. It also invites us to reprioritize things in life if need be in order to create the changes we desire.

Fifth, strike a balance. 

I’m not a big fan of toxic positivity, but I am also a big advocate of working hard on seeing the silver lining. If you want to release negative energy, then, by all means, be open with what you’re truly feeling. Be raw, be open, be honest. But don’t forget to also be optimistic, grateful, calm, and objective. Striking a balance between the two can create a healthy journaling experience for you!

Journaling may sound like a very easy, very simple, probably a less popular choice when it comes to dealing with emotional and mental challenges. However, in the pages of a journal, you can find release and an escape from the overwhelming emotions bottling up in you. That’s something you can easily do on your own without spending dollars. Release to start healing, that’s what journaling can do to help you. And for those who have journaled and are ready to take bigger steps towards their healing journey, you can consider Intuitive Energy Healing for deep emotional healing and emotional release too.