Keeping a diary can be beneficial for a variety of purposes. It is often referred to as “expressive writing” and is a great therapeutic self-help technique. Diaries are easy, convenient, and inexpensive. They are available as your companion any time and any place.
One of the uses of a journal is goal setting. Many professionals have found that putting down your goals in writing increases the likelihood that you will follow through to achieve them. Written records feel concrete, as opposed to thoughts, which seem abstract. The more detailed you are about your goals the better.
On the other hand, journals may be used as a safe space to share private thoughts. For instance, it may be healing to write about negative aspects of life or feelings that are concerning you. After some time you may be able to recognize thought patterns, or emotions consistently resulting from specific settings or scenarios. You can try to embrace those that give you positive feelings and minimize those that evoke negative feelings.
Furthermore, after experiencing trauma many people hesitate to tell anybody about the occurrence. This may be due to fear of reliving the experience or the shame and embarrassment of admitting what happened. If you are not ready to tell your story aloud, try writing it down. This is a private way to let out your feelings and avoid bottling up distress. This can be used as a steppingstone which can help you to gain the courage to eventually share your story with another person.
In certain cases the act of writing may be cathartic, especially when releasing negativity. Some people do not go back to re-read their entries, but simply feel better after completing them. Other times with positive entries, reviewing your previous writing can motivate you, and keep your optimism high.
A psychotherapist is a great resource if you need to share what is recorded in your journal, or are ready to discuss a concern or trauma. If you are in Bergen County, New Jersey, feel free to call 201-368-3700 to find out more information or make an appointment with one of our own licensed professional counselors, therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists.