When my son was undergoing his liver transplants, I used journaling to help me cope. There were so many unknowns we were facing every single day and never sure of the outcome of the decisions we had to make to give him the best life possible.
Now that we are facing a world-wide pandemic life is different than we once knew and it’s adding a whole bunch of stress that we clearly could have done without.
Not all change is bad but when it feels like the world is in chaos it can will life life is tossing us around and we are at its mercy. Which can make life even harder than what it was before.
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 unsurmountable.
What Is Journaling?
A journal is a tool you use to record your feelings on significant life events. The act of writing down your thoughts and emotions can be highly therapeutic. Taking quick notes on particular stressful moments can be incredibly helpful because you are giving yourself space to not hold it in.
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 what’s going on with you and make 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.
I can hear it now, you calling bullshit because closing down the world isn’t solving much of anything – but the truth is there isn’t much we can do either. We can either be part of the solution or part of the problem.
What I found for me however is that I am more productive than ever because in my journaling I saw I was spending too much time on social media and that did my head in on so many levels. And so I am writing more, creating more art and crossing things off on my list one by one. I made it a point to go outside every opportunity I have and work in the garden or around the property.
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.
Types of Journaling
TI believe that we have to explore the tools available and then choose the one that feels the best or gives us what we need the most.
When coping with chaos, daily gratitude can be a life saver. Writing down what you’re thankful for and fortunate to have is a quick way to begin to feel more empowered.
One of my favorite ways of journaling to help me during stressful situations is free writing and is amazing for 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. Some challenge you may run into is not knowing with what thought or feeling to start – so it’s ok to write that as well because before you know it you have 5 pages filled in your journal.
Even keeping a 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.