One of the best ways to get through a crisis, (whether it is a personal, professional or even global crisis) is through journaling your thoughts in writing. It helps bring up emotions for clearing. It surfaces creative solutions to the situation you are dealing with. And it serves as a record of your experience that you may want to turn to again at a later date.
The general idea of journaling might not appeal to everyone. But there are multiple ways to journal, and at least one of them is likely to appeal to (and benefit) you. Here are five formats, each with a different application, that you may want to explore and even experiment with.
- Story Book – Human beings are natural story-tellers, and keeping a story journal can be especially helpful if you are depressed, struggling with a sudden crisis or unresolved tragedy, or living with a chronic ailment. Stories have a beginning, middle and end. Write about your experience just like you would tell a story. Some experts advise writing about the same episode several times; retelling the story often gives new perspectives. It reminds me of the movie Ground Hog Day – where the lead character kept waking up to the same day over and over again and eventually figured out he had control over the outcome of his own story.
- Worry Book – This format can benefit those who experience anxiety, stress, or insomnia. Start by drawing a line down the center of a page. On the left, write some of the issues that are upsetting you and then on the right side, list some of the steps you have taken to address the situation, or some solutions you could try. Use this space to plan, organize and strategize how you will move forward.
- Daily Log – This log is useful if you want to get more fit, spend less money, look for a new job, or chart your recovery from an illness. Use this journal to keep track of anything from growing a garden to growing a child to building a business. In this journal, you simply record the facts: how far you walked or how long you exercised, how much you spent on what, what jobs you applied for, who you followed up with, etc. You may also want to write some narrative in addition to the “facts”.
- Couple or Family Journal – This is a great way to enhance communications, deepen emotional bonds, as well as encourage trust and intimacy. The journal is left in a place where everyone has free access, anytime. Each person is encouraged to write, recording his/her thoughts or feelings, or in response to another person’s entry. Remember to also write compliments and encouragements in addition to writing through problems or misunderstandings.
- Gratitude Journal – This is one of the more common forms of journaling. This can be especially helpful to those who are inclined to be pessimistic, anxious, overwhelmed or in the midst of a crisis. And it is a journal which can bring anyone joy. Simply make a list of that for which you are thankful. From the smallest to the biggest, the very personal to the global. Every day write five to ten things for which you are grateful. It doesn’t matter if you repeat yourself.
Journaling is one of many strategies available for getting through a crisis. If you are interested in other strategies to help you get through crisis, stress or overwhelm, I’m here to help. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 416-617-0734.
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