It may sound too good to be true, just journal for emotional healing. Can simply putting pen to paper really help you make sense of your story? Help you recover from abuse? Create healthy emotional balance that allows you not just to survive, but to thrive?
Short answer? Yes!
I am not just saying that either. “Many psychological and medical studies have shown that writing about difficulties and dreams helps people experience increased happiness, health, and productivity” (from Heal By Writing About Your Trauma by Randi Kreger).
Finding Meaning in the Mess
I too have found that writing about my experiences has helped me heal the trauma of my past. Whether in articles for SwanWaters, or by journaling with our members, writing down my stories, the feelings and thoughts that are associated with them, and how those influence(d) me, always increases my insights. It helps me make connections and drives me to come to conclusions that I could not otherwise have seen.
“When I began writing my memoir on both difficult and abusive experiences in the church, I also discovered that many of the difficult experiences molded me into who I am now. I could never have found this meaning had I not sat at the feet of my own life and asked questions of it” (from Heal By Writing About Your Trauma by Randi Kreger).
It is the questioning that really increases your understanding of what happened. Not just the ‘why’, but bigger questions like ‘how’ or ‘with what result’. I have also found that this is where the SwanWaters community has added value. Because you are writing in a supportive and private environment, you can share freely. You do however still have the benefit of your peers commenting, questioning and validating your experiences, all while cheering you on too.
By discussing your writing with peers, you can further deepen your understanding and healing. I thank everyone on the community for helping me find more meaning in the mess.
Prunes For the Soul
While recovering from abuse our emotions can really get on top of us. I have found that writing down how I feel not only helps me understand where feelings are coming from, it also makes it easier to let go of the negative emotions. Or in other words: a healthy emotional process means that we take in our life experiences, process them for nutrients, find what we need to grow and survive, and then expel the garbage.
“Many of us simply hold onto our emotions, storing them away in our bodies, and we become emotionally constipated, unable to let go of that which isn’t helping us in any way. Eventually, when our system gets too backed up, we get sick. We can no longer function as we should. We become sluggish, unresponsive, depressed” (from Why Write? Emotional Healing by Amber Lea Starfire).
So really, your journal is like prunes for the soul, something that helps you regulate…
In this Healing Academy Module, I share why journaling is so effective and how you can make the most of your writing for emotional healing.Join The Healing Academy Today For Immediate Access
A Journal Keeps Track of Your Journey
The road to recovery may seem endless, your journal is a great way to keep track of your progress. I love reading older posts I did, because they show me the lengths I have come. More often than not, rereading previous entries change and increase my insights on topics again. Looking at stories and previous observation in the light of new insight is very helpful.
The journal will prove a worthy companion on your road to healing. It will show you the places you’ve been and the progress that you have made.
From For Adult Survivors of Emotional Child Abuse on The Invisible Scar)
Writing regularly and recording your thoughts over an extended period of time, also allows you to see patterns and perhaps discover some of your triggers, fleas, and allergies.
How to Journal for Emotional Healing?
Don’t worry about grammar, spelling or formatting. Just get going and keep going. You can always edit later if you feel conscious about this.
Just follow the Yellow Brick Road. In other words, just go where your thoughts take you. Even if you are using a journaling prompt, don’t worry about being on or off topic.
Write regularly (remember those prunes!). Developing a habit around your journaling is great. Just block about 20 to 30 minutes ever day or every week to write. You will find that it becomes easier and more effective with more practice.
Aim for about 750 words (that is 3 pages if you are going by hand). That is really just a minimum amount, and mostly a guideline. Writing anything less just does not push you to the same depth of thinking. You will lose an opportunity to dig around in your own mind. Less insight means less healing.
Changing how you speak to yourself, will allow you to create lasting change and help you become your own greatest cheerleader. Conquer low self-esteem and self-doubt, while building a life you love. Navigate the challenges of life with confidence and optimism.
Peer Journaling on SwanWaters
We introduced the term ‘peer journaling’ on SwanWaters, a way for your journal to give you feedback, advice and cheer you on. Over the years we have experienced how helpful it is to get feedback from fellow survivors on our memories and thoughts. Specifically, because we have learned not to trust our own minds, observations, and memories.
Using the SwanWaters community as your journal gives you some additional benefits.
- Reading the responses and stories of fellow-survivors will help you make more sense of your own experiences. It is sort of a learning short-cut, but one that actually works.
- The value of validation can’t be charged to ANY major credit card!
- Your fellow-survivors will make observations about your writing that you didn’t. They will make connections that you could not see. They may link it to something you said earlier, or relate it to one of their own experiences that can help your healing.
- The members of SwanWaters are some of the best cheerleaders in the world. We love seeing each other succeed and thrive after abuse. So when we see you do well, we will shake our virtual pompons in your honor.
- We have all been there, we know what it is like and how crazy it feels! You do not have to justify yourself, you don’t have to convince it that this really happened (however strange it may sound).