Types of Journaling
- Art – Some of the best expressions are not in word or text form. If the blank page is overwhelming, take out some colored pencils, charcoal, crayons or markers and create. You can draw people, places, things, feelings and thoughts. You can draw something very tangible or incredibly abstract visions. Afterwards, take some time to think about what these images mean to you and what they represent.
- Goal – What are your goals? Where are you going? What do you want to accomplish? If depression has you feeling stuck and hopeless, this might be a good journal type for you. Without direction, you are a rudderless boat moving wherever the current decides. Writing down your goals makes them more concrete and forces you to think about them more often. Each day, you can ask, “What did I do to achieve my goals?” Work harder the next day if you are not satisfied with the answer.
- Freestyle – This list is not all inclusive. Experiment with combinations of the above or your own entirely different type of journal or a combination of the types above. Since there is no “right” way to journal, you have freedom to be as unique as possible. Find what works for you.
Keeping at It
Starting a new habit is hard. You should expect to struggle no matter the level of your interest and commitment. Want to make journaling last? Here’s how:
- Experiment with the when and where. Maybe you have seen others on TV or in movies journal in their beds at night. Maybe this will work for you or maybe it won’t. Open yourself up to experimenting with times and places to journal. Maybe a computer keyboard is the best entry system, or maybe you like the simplicity of pen on paper. Try varying systems for a few weeks to find what feels the most comfortable.
- Involve others. If something is important to you, help ensure success by letting others know. Telling friends that you want to begin journaling is a great start and asking them for reminders and motivation will push you closer to victory. They will be willing to assist since they will gain some indirect benefit from your improving symptoms.
- Build it into routine. Do you take your medicine at night? Do you always watch the same show after lunch? Find preexisting routines and try to piggyback journaling on the routine. This will avoid the need to establish a completely new behavior pattern.
- Remind yourself of benefits. Like exercise or relaxation techniques, you may not feel the benefits of journaling instantly. Remaining positive and motivated will encourage the results in the future, though. It may be uncomfortable or challenging now, but when it works, you will be happy you stayed the course.
It’s time to pay more attention to journaling. The benefits are undeniable with consistency, and with the range of options, you can certainly find a style that works for you. You may find that writing will make things right.