How Do I Start Journaling?

by | Writing Exercises

One of the biggest benefits of writing/journaling lays in the fact that it is multimodal: it requires us to use our visual, auditory, and kinesthetic senses to see, hear, and touch. Activities, like journaling, that incorporate multiple senses allow us to more fully and richly engage with what we are doing. The act of writing in a rhythmic way is therapeutic in and of itself. When we allow feelings and thoughts that were previously constrained, blocked, or hidden, out, we may notice a cathartic feeling. In addition, journaling can help us tap into our creative spirit, from the way we form sentences to the way we express feelings. We choose to write or express certain words because they hold meaning for us.

I encourage all my clients to take notes during our sessions: what insights, aha moments, questions, reflections come up? I encourage clients to write down different strategies, including thinking, feeling, and behavioral strategies, self-care tips, words of affirmation, and reassuring self-talk. Moreover, I encourage clients to expand upon those insights, takeaways, questions, challenges, etc. after session and in-between sessions.

One of the most meaningful ways to journal is writing a letter to one’s younger self or future self: what are the words you wanted to hear when you were younger? What part(s) of childhood have you held on to as an adult that needs moving through? What words of wisdom do you have for your younger self?

Can you continue an ongoing conversation with yourself? Schedule 10-15 blocks of intentional, quiet time with yourself. You can give yourself a writing prompt or be open to what might flow from you. Avoid judging what you write and avoid editing what you write. Instead, give yourself permission to be open to your own experience.

Close your eyes, take several deep breaths, and just move your pen. Trust your self-expression; there are no rules here and certainly no expectations.

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