Taking Action: Journaling

Journaling is a simple way to start processing your problems

Take Action, Creativity, Journaling

When you finally decide that you want to take action and start feeling better, you want to use that desire or drive to take action. I am going to devote the next series of posts to ways that you can take action on your own before involving a therapist or professional.


So, one simple way to start processing your problems is to journal.


  • Journaling is a way to set aside time each day to honour your problems while keeping them from taking over the rest of your life.
  • Journaling can help you uncover the root issues involved or the patterns that are getting you into trouble.
  • It can also be very cathartic - meaning it can feel really good to form the thoughts and ideas and put them on paper.

Three ways to journal

For all journaling, I recommend picking one jounal - it can be a spiral notebook, a pretty bound book, a stack of papers stapled together - but pick one journal that is dedicated to this project. Pick an amount of time that fits for you and try to stick to that same amount of time everyday. I've noticed most people pick early morning or at the end of the day to do their journaling but pick a time that will help you.


There are three ways to get your brain and pen working:

  1. Open journal. For this you simply write whatever needs to come out. There is no structure. Just write for as long as you have set time for it. If you find yourself thinking about things during the day that you want to work out, then this would be a helpful option for you.
  2. Structured questions. For this, you would follow a guide that has questions in it for you. The Artists Way has some great journaling ideas. You can check out any number of journaling websites such as this one.  You can also look at your day and ask yourself "what stands out about today?" "What was the highlights both in a positive way and in a way that I feel stuck?"
  3. Carry around a notepad and when something significant happens to you, make a quick note about it - just a couple of words. Later, when you sit down to write, go through each of the events and write about what was significant about it to you, how you felt, and any behaviours or changes it caused.

But I don't like journaling! (Or, I'm not a good writer).

First of all, this exercise is about moving thoughts and feelings from inside your head to out on paper. It has very little to do with being good at it.


Second, give it a try. There is no point in not trying. You may think you don't like journaling as it reminds you of being a child in school or having a diary. This is different. 


Third, I have other ideas if this doesn't fit for you.


Ok, go journal now :)

*Disclaimer: Journaling doesn't take the place of counselling or psychotherapy. If you are struggling with thoughts of death and long bouts of helplessness, I recommend seeking counselling right away.


**Photo credit: freedigitialphotos.net, image by Idea go

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