Yes, your journal can hold your thoughts, feelings, drawings, poetry, music, rage, whining and kindness. It can hold all that you are.
Harnessing the power of your journal can have a profound impact on your life. With or without realizing it starting a journal is to embark on a journey of self-discovery, personal empowerment, and recovery from various challenges. When you engage in journaling, you are opening the door to your vast conscious and unconscious mind.
By approaching your journal with honesty, regardless of your emotional state, your psyche will pay attention to your words. It will be there for you in times of pain, stress, rage, love, hate, confusion, sorrow, and frustration. Your psyche knows. Your journal helps your conscious mind hold your experiences, while giving your unconscious the opportunity to provide insights, facts, and energy that you cannot access otherwise.
Specifically, keeping a journal can help you overcome obstacles that hinder progress in relationships, academics, or your profession. Whether you maintain a personal diary, engage in regular journaling, write letters to yourself or a higher power, or tap into your inner wisdom, putting your thoughts and experiences into words provides a healing outlet.
1. Understanding the pivotal role of love and compassion in the healing journey, incorporating self-love and self-compassion practices into the writing process can foster a nurturing and supportive relationship with oneself, promoting healing and self-acceptance.
2. But if you want to slam into yourself with all your judgements, criticisms, whining and blaming that’s fine too. The page can bear it. You can release it, sometimes for many pages and many days. Eventually that surge will slow down. You’ll get tired of it, bored with it. It’s excruciating to read those pages, but reading them will give you strength, insight and new perspectives. So the more honest you are when you hurl your weapons at yourself the more benefits you will receive when you bring yourself to those pages later.
3. Keeping a journal or diary serves as a valuable tool for boosting self-esteem. By delving into your own stories, weaknesses, and strengths, you can foster self-development and enhance your sense of self-worth. Exploring various methods and approaches to journaling can be particularly beneficial for emotional healing. These may include traditional written journaling, expressive writing exercises, art journaling, or using digital platforms for self-expression. Writing letters to yourself or sending postcards are additional ways to share experiences, strengths, and weaknesses with yourself.
4. Integrating mindfulness practices into the writing process further enhances its value. By cultivating present-moment awareness, individuals can deepen their connection with their thoughts and emotions, enabling them to observe their experiences with curiosity, compassion, and non-judgment.
5. Recognizing the importance of pausing before succumbing to negative behaviors, such as writing rage-filled letters or engaging in disordered eating, is a powerful step in recovery. Through writing, individuals can heighten their awareness of triggers, emotions, and thought patterns, allowing them to make conscious choices and respond in healthier ways.
6. Your journal can serve as a wise and benevolent guide, fostering a positive body image, facilitating open communication within yourself, and extending to others. It can become a haven, providing safety and respite. Starting a journal at any age allows for continuous development. Journaling can play a crucial role in developing a healthy relationship with food and body image, helping identify triggers and warning signs.
7. Writing and reading your journal is an act of active listening to yourself. It may reveal a need for additional support, leading you to seek a psychotherapist to process the issues you uncover. Exploring emotional support and embracing therapeutic writing practices for self-expression and reflection can be valuable learnings.
8. By combining writing with exploration of these essential aspects, individuals can find solace, clarity, and a renewed sense of purpose. Writing becomes a profound tool for self-reflection, introspection, and ultimately healing from the challenges posed by the rough and tumble of life. This journey requires courage, vulnerability, and self-compassion.
Journaling is not limited to mere words. When you journal, you demonstrate respect and care for yourself by creating the space and tools to write. As you write, you think and realize that you are capable of writing and thinking. You can express your frustrations and complaints without fear of judgment or consequences. You can explore intense emotions and irrational thoughts that yearn to be released, which may influence your perceptions.
You can also be present for the moments when those wild thoughts and feelings subside. The journal remains, and so do you. You can pause, breathe, and reflect on what just transpired between you and the page. This process brings about greater awareness and restores your connection with yourself. It may even lead to a deeper understanding of who you are. You may discover a sense of kindness toward yourself and others as you journey through a few rage-filled pages.
Keeping a journal brings you back to the path of learning, even when you are unaware that you have stopped. You can experience a sense of freedom and lightness as you see your own obstacles outlined on the pages. Once you recognize them, your psyche will offer you solutions to your problems with fresh perspectives and newfound understanding.
Your journal encompasses so much more than mere words on a page.
(In my book "Healing Your Hungry Heart," you will find a wealth of techniques and approaches that utilize the power of writing to navigate the bumps and crises encountered during the recovery process, ultimately leading to profound healing and self-discovery.)
Joanna Poppink, MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice specalizing in eating disorder recovery. She is licensed in CA, OR, UT, FL and AZ. She specializes in eating disorders, anxiety, depression, PTSD and self doubt.
All appointments are virtual. Ages accepted begin at 25 and go up, including seniors who are most welcome.
For a free telephone consultation e-mail her at