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Journaling can be especially helpful for PTSD or childhood trauma sufferers. But simply doing a “brain dump” of words on the page may feel good doesn’t usually increases well-being or decreases depression symptoms.
To have a positive impact on mental health, appropriate procedures are needed:
♟ Write once a day, 3-4 days consecutively, or as often as you can
♟ Use a private, personalized space free from distractions
♟ Don’t worry about grammar & spelling – just get Thoughts & Emotions down. What matters is that you understand it
♟ Be as honest as you can. Holding back holds back answers you’re looking for. This is where you can be 100% authentic without worrying about what you think others are thinking!. Al-Anon says “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”
♟ If you’re writing to heal trauma, you don’t have to write about specific events unless that feels right at the time you’re writing
♟ It’s best to write by hand. Research shows that it stimulates the brain much more than typing. If you need privacy, keep it in a small metal lock box
♟ Keep your journal totally private – NOT for anyone else to see (you can tell your therapist what you’ve gotten from it)
♟ After writing, give yourself a little time to reflect, & to balance yourself
Daily Journaling BASICS
NOTE: To not get overwhelmed & not use the excuse of “I don’t have time”- your daily entries can be very brief, even to just several single words or phrases per category – appropriate if writing in a pre-formatted workbook. When you have time, make the entries as long as you want – using a regular notebook of your choice but make sure each entry is dated – especially if you skip days.
am : Goals for the day – identifies what matters most to you right now. Something ‘magical’ happens by regularly write down what you really, truly, genuinely want in life – you actually start to get it
🌱Every morning, before starting work, open a fresh page in your journal & write your top 10–15 goals.
🌱The next day, do the same thing – without looking at the previous day.
🌱Do this for 30 days — wake up, re-write your goals, don’t look at each past day. You’ll notice that your goals will start to clarify, transform, or change altogether. This allows you hone in on what you really want in life.
pm : End of day log – list which of your am goals you accomplished – if any (even partially) . Be specific. If you were not able to do those, then write what you did accomplish – to insure you acknowledge any positive activities
if you have time, very briefly list where you went, what you did, what you ate, who you saw & spoke with….. It comes in handy when you need to remember or figure out something later, & in the future. These are just FACTS.
As a memory aid – during the day:
🎍Carry a smaller notebook to quickly write whatever you’re doing – very briefly (done when in the bathroom, in any kind of transportation, waiting in line….)
The important thing is to keep the format loose enough so you’ll actually do it. Then you can expand on it in the pm – including emotions, evaluations, insights…..
pm : Best thing that happened today – it can be one small or big thing. It can be a good thing you did, or a good thing that happened to you. It’s a way to train our brain to focus on the positive things in out life – & keep our attention in the present
am & pm : Gratitude list (at least 3, or more). In the morning, staring with an appreciation for what you have – right now – will set off a domino effect of optimistic approach to your day’s work & personal interactions.
In the evening, list 3 (or more) benefits of your day – different from the am list. It can include something bad that did not happen! especially anything your WIC was sure would turn out badly
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