I used to think that little kids were the only people that had diaries. Diaries were just for little girls to write about their secret crush, the cool stuff they did with their friends or how their parents are so unfair! So, somewhere in pre-teen years – I stopped keeping a diary.
But when I got into recovery I learned that adults can have diaries too, we just call them journals. I also learned that journaling is a great coping skill.
There are many benefits to journaling (I Googled it to make sure 😊). For me, journaling helps me to put my feelings onto paper, keep track of patterns, improve my reading, writing and spelling, as well as to be able to check in with myself and be present.
Putting my feelings onto paper has been huge for me. By writing down how I am feeling and what is happening in my mind – it makes it more manageable. I am then able to sort through the feelings without them being all jumbled together in my head. Here I can also keep an eye out for patterns. Didn’t I write about feeling this way yesterday? Am I putting myself in positions to keep feeling this way unnecessarily? All of these things go back to self-care and self-awareness. If I don’t check in with myself as to what is going on and how I am feeling, then who will? I have to make myself a priority.
When I am journaling; I find that my handwriting improves dramatically. I am a bit old fashioned, so I like to actually put pen to paper when I am journaling. I don’t like looking at messy handwriting – so I tend to write more carefully. I can also better evaluate what type of mood I am in by my handwriting. The more erratic my thoughts – the messier the handwriting, no matter how hard I try.
Journaling has helped me learn to be more present with. I have learned to check in with myself throughout the day – even if I can’t write it down. I can better identify triggers for certain emotions within myself. I have learned that no matter what I am feeling – its okay. But I always want to be able to be present and feel whatever emotions I am having.
I try to make it a point to journal every-day. Just like anything else it is a habit to be developed. Most days I don’t write much, but I know that it is a tool I can use to productively cope with life any time that I need it.
Do you journal?
What healthy coping mechanisms do you use?