THERAPY ROOM: Journaling

Posted on 16 May 2019 by LeslieM

What is Journaling?

Journaling is a record of experiences, ideas or reflections kept on a regular basis. Journaling is no longer the old-fashioned exercise of keeping a diary. It is something we all can commit to practicing as well as encourage others to experience. Journaling does more than just help record memories or develop self-expression. It is actually good for your mental and physical well-being.

Whether writing thoughts in a booklet or using an online application, journaling helps acknowledge and memorialize feelings, it brings attention to specific moments of a day, helps build a history and, ultimately, can help one achieve progress.

Benefits of Journaling

Journaling and Stress Reduction: Journaling is an excellent stress management tool and, when it becomes a habit, it can lessen the impact of life’s stressors. Recently, one of my psychotherapy patients decided to start journaling after the unexpected death of her father. She made it a habit to journal every night before going to bed. She told me rather than crying everyday she would try her best to express her feelings of grief in words by journaling and that helped reduce the painful feeling of losing her father.

Journaling to help Manage Depression: Another psychotherapy patient diagnosed with depression told me that if he did not journal he would not be able to retain and describe certain thoughts and feelings he had between his weekly therapy sessions. Journaling provides him with a way to recount and recall his thoughts throughout a week and allows him to speak to his depression by using journal entries that help him develop depression coping strategies.

Journaling and Recovery: Whatever event, habit or disorder one is experiencing, journaling can help and heal. Those with an eating disorder can experience journaling as a huge source of relief. Journaling can reduce the distancing from issues and help confront problems head on, as well as reduce the obsessive component of the disorder. For those struggling with addiction, journaling can help record struggles and accomplishments. Journaling can also hold one more accountable and help one work through difficult thoughts and emotions in a healthy manner.

A journalist we all know

Billionaire media mogul and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey uses journaling to build mental strength. Oprah has been journaling since she was a teenager and believes journaling helps radiate and generate more goodness because you become aware of all that you do have and less about the have-nots. She emphasizes writing down what you are grateful for and reading it back. She also recommends reflecting on previous journal entries and sharing your journaling gratitude with other people.

As journaling habits are developed the benefits become long term — meaning the journalist becomes more in tune with his/her health by connecting with inner needs and desires. Journaling can assist with the management of adversity and change, and emphasize patterns and growth in life. Journaling fosters growth and reflects what I promote to you every month and that is “change is possible.”

Dr. Julia Breur is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in Boca Raton. For more information, call 561-512-8545, e-mail info@drjuliabreur.com or visit www.drjuliabreur.com.

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