Can keeping a journal help?

Keeping a journal involves writing down thoughts, feelings and experiences. This can be done daily, weekly or whenever the need takes you. Many people say it can help.

Some benefits of keeping a journal

  • It is like talking to someone when there is no one to talk to
  • It can help “off load” thoughts that keep going round in your head
  • It can help to see things in black and white
  • It can help to see perspective (last week was awful at the time, however looking back it now doesn’t seem so bad)
  • It can be a form of coping strategy and distraction
  • It can help flag repeated patterns as you look back
  • It can aid quiet reflection & contemplation
  • You might turn it into a book of memoirs one day
  • It is something of a record of your life – something to share with the grandchildren perhaps?
  • People say it helps them cope with difficulties

Some concerns

  • Others may find or read it how can you keep it private and safe ?
  • It makes things “real” did you really feel that when you wrote it ?
  • It can be addictive or obsessive – some people feel bad if they have not made an entry in a while
  • what if you lose it ?
  • If you continually write negative emotions it can keep you stuck in the negative

Some things to reflect on when or after writing

  • How am I feeling ? What am I thinking ? What have I been doing?
  • What have I learned today? (about myself / others / things in general)
  • What am I pleased about or proud of today?
  • What has made me laugh today ?
  • What has touched me today ?
  • Is there any thing I would do differently next time ? (what? and how would that be?)
  • What is a different view to mine? (or another way of looking at this)
  • What are the positives that can come out of this situation ?
  • If I look back in 10 years time how important will this be ?
  • What does this (what I have written) say about who I am ? what /who is important to me ? what my values are ?
  • What do I need to do now?
  • Is there anything I need top plan for in the next week?
Melanie Phelps

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