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How to Journal for Therapy

Keeping a journal can be therapeutic. It’s a great way to navigate your feelings and can be a cathartic experience. It seems that as social media has become more mental health conscious, there has been an increased interest in journaling for therapy. Therapy helps you discover how your mind functions. And yet, many people are hesitant or nervous about starting therapy. Partially this could be due to the fact that therapy is not easy work. It can be uncomfortable to take a step back and evaluate your mindset and it takes work to acknowledge the changes that need to be made to create a happy and healthy lifestyle. Journaling is a great way to get comfortable with sharing your feelings and become more mindful of your thoughts and behavior patterns.

The next question is, how to do it? Here are our best tips on how to get started with journaling for therapy.

  • First of all, there is no right way to do it. Therapy is not one size fits all and neither is journaling. You have the freedom to determine what feels best for you. If you want you can structure your journal and follow prompts, or you can use your journal to free write and just get your thoughts onto paper. You can also do a combination of both. Follow what feels natural to you and what works for your brain. 

  • Try to stay consistent. Take 15 to 20 minutes everyday to write down your thoughts. If you're having difficulty finding the time, try to schedule it into your day. It’s important to take some time for yourself, even if it’s only a few minutes.

  • Write your feelings down. Research shows that getting your feelings onto paper is helpful for stress management. Furthermore, journaling is a great way to express your feelings in a setting that feels safe and comfortable. For those who are not as comfortable confiding in others or who need space to process their emotions on their own, journaling is a great opportunity to get those feelings onto a page and take a step back from the jumble of thoughts and feelings that clutter the brain.

  • If you’re currently in therapy, use your journal to track your progress and write about your experience. This can be a great way to log your journey and to see your growth.

  • Write down your experiences - good and bad! Journaling for therapy isn’t just about getting out the negative feelings and writing down events that are stressful or hurtful. Write down the positive as well. Keep track of what brings you joy and use your journal to record your life as a whole. It’s important to be mindful of the good things in your day to day life as well. Choosing to be present and practice gratitude can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

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