Change doesn’t equal bad, but even good change can cause some upheaval and stress. We’ve talked about some ways to handle the fallout from our stressors and why it’s important to take action to overcome difficult times. Allowing life to toss us around and remaining at its mercy simply keeps us stagnant, making it harder to remove ourselves from an undesirable situation.
It’s my goal to share with you as many tangible strategies as I can so that you don’t feel powerless over the troubles you face.
Journaling is one method that’s been incredibly useful for me in a lot of ways, especially during times of strife. Take a look at some of the ways that something as simple as journaling can help you to cope with those big life changes that seem insurmountable.
What Is Journaling?
A journal is different than a diary. In a diary, you write about the events of your day. It’s merely a chronological record of what you experience throughout life. A journal is slightly different. This tool is used to record your feelings on those significant life events. The act of writing down your thoughts and emotions can be highly therapeutic. It’s best to journal on a regular basis if you want to get the most benefit from the activity, but even taking the time to jot down your reactions to a particularly stressful one-time event can do you some good.
Benefits of Journaling
Writing in your journal, whether it be in digital or paper form, can help you get through times of change in a myriad of ways. By getting things out of your mind, you’re able to clarify you’re them and to make better sense of your thoughts and feelings. You’re taking the time to process events and to break them down into segments, such as cause and effect. Doing so lets you visualize what happened and gives you a better sense of how to improve your situation. It also clears your mind and frees up the cognitive space needed for implementing practical solutions. When you’re stuck in your own head and dwelling on the negative, it’s nearly impossible to make actual progress toward setting things right. In addition, you can begin to prioritize the parts of your life that are most important to you through this form of processing. Finally, journaling gives you a record of how far you’ve actually come because you can see what’s worked for you thus far and what hasn’t. Seeing your progress is a strong motivator to keep going.
Types of Journaling
There are all kinds of journaling methods you could try. I’d like to highlight some that I believe to be particularly useful when it comes to coping with change.
- Simple gratitude journal can be a good place to start if you find you need to improve your attitude. Writing down what you’re thankful for and fortunate to have is a quick way to begin to feel more empowered.
- Free writing is good for an emotional release. Just begin writing on a particular thought you’ve had going through your mind. As you begin to expand upon it, patterns will emerge that you may never have expected. This is a fantastic strategy for processing emotions and generating solutions.
- Planning journal or agenda can be useful if you need a little motivation to get things done. Taking even the smallest proactive step can help to overcome the inertia that can set in with the depression and anxiety that often comes with times of uncertainty.
I find journaling just before bed helps me clear my mind. Laying in bed while my mind goes a million miles an hour is not conducive to healthy sleep. The act of writing down my thoughts and feelings allow me to go to bed calmer and more relaxed.
Use these suggestions and incorporate your own when you’re feeling stuck in your reactions to difficult situations. You’ll find yourself moving forward and coming up with solutions in no time.
Here are a few journals I highly recommend:
Tiny Buddha is a wonderful blog filled with positive messages, mindset hacks and happiness! This journal provides a prompt every day to help you get into the habit of journaling and thinking a little deeper about all the amazing things you have to be grateful for in your life.
This can be anything – lined paper stapled together, a running computer document. Anywhere you like to write. I like to keep my thoughts in a book with lined paper so I can write without any distractions. This one has a cute cover and isn’t too big.
There is only one way to do paper agendas and that is the bullet journal. Ok, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, I am for any system that works for you. However, bullet journaling is my favorite. I have a whole blog about it. Click here to check it out.