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People report that they feel better, do better work, have more fulfilling friendships, etc after journaling.  Specifically, people say that journaling is helpful in the following ways:

e.  or allows for the exact opposite – no one has to be rational when he/she journals

Journaling – A Safe Space Where Anything Goes

Journaling for many is a creative outlet.  When they use journaling as a creation place, they are able to enter a space where they feel free to write, paint, draw, color, record, etc without judgement.

Without judgement.

Without judgement – that’s the hard part.

And, honestly, this doesn’t always happen right away.

For some people, they feel confident or are free spirited enough not to feel constrained by the notion of “good” journaling, or a “good” painting, or a “good” song, or a “good” picture.  They’re not worried about what journaling is “supposed to” be.  Or what journaling is “supposed to” do for you.  For many of these people, just having the opportunity to create something is a healing.  It’s fun.  It’s an opportunity to learn.  It’s an opportunity to experience something in the world they way they often wish others did.

For others, the inner critic is so loud, so dominant, so scary, or some combination of those or all of those, that creating anything is uncomfortable.  Once something is created – it can be judged.  This is why the idea of a locked journal can be so appealing.  For those of you who fall into this category, then journaling is also an exercise in silencing or diminishing that inner critic.  The goal in journaling will be to create something and NOT to judge it.  When you’re done journaling what you’ll need to say to yourself is either “I’m not allowed to read what I wrote” or if you do reread it, “I did the journaling.  The fact that I did it is enough.  I am not going to critique or judge what I wrote”.

When you can do that – you allow yourself the space to be free from most cultural constraints.  You can write/create whatever you want.  Maybe you need to say everything you want to scream at that person who has hurt you (if you’re afraid that person will someday find that, then find a way to dispose of it when you’re done, you can shred, burn, etc things that are on paper or hit delete).  Maybe you just need a space where the logic you are experiencing is 100% true.  After journaling, you can come back to the reality that someone else has an opinion that might change the way you’re “supposed to” be feeling, but while you’re journaling that “supposed to” is not a constraint.  Maybe you want to experiment with confidence or some other attribute – you can try that on, journal, and see if the experience is different.

Journaling is different things to different people.  The beautiful thing is that it is adaptable.  It is a space – your space.  You determine how you want to approach journaling.  If today’s approach is different then tomorrow’s – that’s not a problem.  There is no journaling police who go around telling you what you did was wrong or bad.

If you journal – what have you found most helpful about the experience?  Does it fall into the five categories I have outlined?  Does it overlap with a few or all 5?  The list I have written about lately is not an exhaustive list.  It is a summarizing list of the top 5 ways that I have found through my own experience, through research, and through counseling with others, that journaling is helpful.

I’d love to hear your stories!

P.S. This is the last week in the series about what it is about journaling that people have found helpful.  Next week I will start a series on the many different “selves” that come together to create the amazing person that is you.