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I have found journaling to be an essential part of my healing from betrayal trauma and PTSD. Journals help me to process emotions, organize my thoughts, and keep myself grounded in truth.
Let’s be honest, keeping a journal my not sound like the most exciting thing you can do for your healing. For years I’ve told myself I didn’t have the time to journal. I didn’t want to get up in the morning and by the end of the day I just wanted to veg out with Netflix or Candy Crush then head to bed.
Then I started reading the book “The Story You Need to Tell” by Sandra Marinella. IT IS AMAZING, and has motivated me to make time for my own journaling practice on a regular basis.
Now I have multiple journals that serve many functions. I integrate both art and written words in my journals. Sometimes I brain dump, other times I just sketch or color. I try to integrate some sort of gratitude into each day’s journaling. It has made a huge difference. Here are a few of the benefits that I have found from journaling.
A Journal Can Help You Organize Thoughts
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One of the not so awesome gifts of trauma and PTSD if that it affects your ability to think clearly, especially when experiencing emotional triggers.
This is when I use my brain dump journal. This is a journal I use to word vomit. I give myself permission to forget all about handwriting, sentence structure, grammar, etc. and just write. Sometimes I can’t even read them when I’m done, because they are such a mess. Even when I can read them they don’t often make much sense.
Remember a brain dump journal isn’t for future posterity, or even your own ability to go back and read. A brain dump is simply a way for you to get all the thoughts swirling in your head out on paper so you can begin to think clearly again.
Another great way to organize thoughts is through bullet journaling. Bullet journals are a quick and concise way to get down your most important thoughts. You can then choose to elaborate on the most important ones.
Journaling Can Help You Tell Your Story
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When battling trauma and PTSD your story can often appear unclear. As you look back on the past events may be fuzzy or even completely blocked. Journaling can help you keep a record of your story and stay grounded in truth.
My story journal is a place where I take my time to write more in depth about my thoughts and feelings as well as the actual events of my life. Writing the event helps to solidify it in your memory. It will be less likely to be forgotten or twisted.
Abusers often try to gaslight us into not believing our own truth. Writing events in a journal as they occur can help you to withstand this type of crazy making abuse. When I go back and read these journals I am able to stay grounded in my truth.
Telling your story is also a crucial step in reclaiming your life. You can’t find the way forward if you don’t understand the path that got you to where you were. Embracing our shattered stories is the first step on the road to reclaiming them.
A Journal Can Help You Set and Achieve Important Goals
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Accountability is an important part of good goal setting, and being accountable to yourself counts! When you write about who you want to be and what you want to achieve you will be more committed to accomplishing it.
A goal journal can be a great place to motivate yourself to success. Take to time to write down not only what you want to achieve, but also each step you will take to get there. Check the boxes and reward yourself for each milestone that you accomplish.
Goals don’t have to be big scary dreams, although those are welcome too. Your goal journal can be as simple as tracking your water intake, or wanting to stay calm while dealing with your kids.
Journaling can Improve your Health
I know it sounds a bit kooky, but journaling can actually improve your health!
Journaling reduces stress leading to lower blood pressure and improved liver functionality. Journaling can also boost your immune function reducing your risk of contracting illnesses.
Keeping a journal doesn’t just improve your physical health, it can boost your emotional health as well. People who keep journals report increased confidence and self-identity. Journaling also unlocks your right brain creativity while also engaging left-brained analytics and rational thinking. This allows you to remove existing mental blocks and further understand yourself and your world.
Keeping a gratitude journal can help reduce anxiety and depression. Training your brain to focus on the positive carries over into your overall sense of belonging and well-being.
Are You Ready to Start Journaling?
Now it’s time to stop making excuses and start journaling.
Not sure where to start? Check out my post on art journaling to see my favorite supplies and journals.
Next sign up for the Five Day Journaling Challenge where each day I will introduce you to two types of journaling techniques and several journaling prompts.