Journaling for emotional healing is powerful way to understand what is going on. And at the same time, start the emotional healing process. In this article I am going to cover why this is true. How to begin to start to journal about your feelings. Plus, what to do with what you discover, so you can heal even faster.
Journaling for emotional healing has been the number one way that I have personally dealt with emotional trauma, limiting beliefs and more.
Over the past four years, it has helped me deal with my divorce and a multitude of issues that lead to me being a people pleaser and never valuing myself. Journaling for emotional healing, has been a true lifesaver for me.
Below I will share with you my process for writing about my feelings.
How Do You Heal Through Journaling?
Healing through your journal is not just an old wives tale. It has been research by scientist as a valid and productive way to heal through journaling.
One of the biggest ways that it does so, is that when you write about your feelings it calms your amygdala. The amygdala manages your emotions. So, when you are feeling really intense emotions your amygdala is in overdrive. Writing slows you down and allows you better access to the rational part of your brain. (For more details)
When you pair this calmed state with the ability to sort through different situations is a safe space with no judgement, your emotional health can see drastic improvement.
Journaling Techniques for Emotional Healing
Write Your Story
Simply writing your story can have an impact on how you feel about different situations. Similar to venting to your best friend or counselor, writing that instead will make you feel better.
The key here is to be as detailed as possible, this is not something to bullet point out. You want to include emotions, regrets, judgements. Everything that will help you understand the situation better.
Consider Different Views of a Situation
Imagine that you are a neutral party viewing the situation you experienced. What might they see that you don't want to? This approach can be very difficult. It requires you to see where you might have been wrong. Or where you were not acknowledging the other person's feelings. Most of the time there is a middle ground to what happened.
This is not to invalidate your feelings, but instead to understand your role better.
Re-Frame Your View of Your Beliefs
Often our beliefs about a situation cause more harm than the actual situation.
For example, if you view your divorce as a bad thing, come up with a re-frame that allows you to see the positives.
Personally, I thought mine meant that I was a failure. That I was not good enough to make it last. Now I see it as my best mistake. The one thing in my life that has allowed me to grow the most. Without it, I would not be the person I am today. (And I love who I am today!)
A great way to get to the limiting beliefs that are causing pain, is to ask yourself what from your past may be triggering your beliefs about the situation. We often encounter the same limiting beliefs in different situations. Finding the common situation can help you figure out why you are suffering.
Use a Why Ladder
Keep asking the question ‘why’ until there are no answers. This is called a why ladder. It is a great way to find the true core of a situation. Too often we stop at the surface level and never get to the real issue. Keep going till you know the answer.
Journal Prompts for Emotional Healing
Journal prompts are a great technique to get to the source of your pain, without having to be your own guide. Here are some prompts that I like to use for emotional healing.
Looking for more journal prompts? I have a book of 109 of them! You can get it on most ebook retailers and in print at Amazon.
Tips for These Journaling Techniques
- You can do this more than one time with each situation. Going back to it on different days. After processing parts of each situation, it can release more feelings and breakthroughs. Getting to the core of the issue is like peeling an onion. Each layer shows you a new layer.
- I know you don't want to hear this, but this process can also take years. As you have more life experiences you begin to see the past in different ways. It can be uncanny how this occurs. I recently realized how impactful a conversation with one of my parents was to my view on safely expressing my opinion. While I have remembered this conversation vividly since middle school, it was not till my 40’s that I fully understood its full impact on my beliefs.
- Don’t stop journaling because you healed one emotion, keep up the practice. It will pay off in surprising ways when you least expect it.
What to Do After You Journal About Emotions
Once you have gone over everything in your journal it is time to make the emotional healing permanent. Sometimes journaling is enough to make a lasting change. But sometimes you need an extra boost to heal and change your beliefs.
There are three main things that I do to make changes lasting after journaling. I find these three are the best way to process what you just journaled about.
Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping)
Hands down this is my favorite tool to shift a belief, relieve pain and so much more.
After journaling about a situation, I will write a summary list of my feelings that I discovered. Then I will figure out which of the emotions are hindering my progress the most.
I then turn these into my tapping set-up statement. I then proceed to tap on the situation and emotions using what I journaled.
Sometimes I decide that instead of tapping I want to use a guided meditation. This is typically when I still feel like there may be more to come out and I am just not sure exactly what to tap on.
A guided meditation will allow my mind to stop doing the work and allow someone else to guide me through a series. My subconscious can take over and allow healing or a release of new information. (For More information on how to access your subconscious mind.)
When I am stuck and need help I head to my counselors, call a friend or talk to a coach. Depending on how stuck you are will determine what level of help that you go for.
Remember you can’t do everything alone so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some of my biggest leaps have been made from advice and help from others.
I have had issues where I call my counselor, best friend, sister and cousin to review the same thing! The more help you can get the better.
Need more tools to help with the emotional healing? I have an entire article on the tools I use for emotional healing. Check it out!
Remember that as you process your emotions, you will change and evolve. This means you may come back to the exact same situation a few months or years later and have a different view of it. Thus, you can’t stop working on yourself. Lessons can be learned, and emotions can be healed years later.
There is no right or wrong in this process. You need to do what works for you. Allow yourself to learn and not do things by a text book plan. Experimenting will help you learn how to journal better.
When you heal your emotions, you allow yourself to be healed on many levels. So not only do you feel happier, but you also will have better health, a clearer mind and more spiritual insights.
What are you waiting for? Go Journal!
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