As a child, you probably had a diary that you guarded with your life. I remember mine even had a lil gold lock! I’d stash it under my mattress, as if my crushes were top secret. You may have gotten away from journaling as an adult, but expressing yourself through writing can be extremely therapeutic. Too often, we have so may thoughts jumbled up in our minds or we’re caught in a negative loop ruminating. It can be freeing to get all these thoughts down on paper. As you reflect, it often provides clarity and offers some release. The best part-it’s private-you don’t have to share this with anyone unless you choose. So, be unfiltered and unedited. You can free write or use journal prompts if you feel stuck. Hope these help with any writers block.
Writing through Anger
*What are you angry about? What happened to hurt you? Was it an act by someone else? A situation out of your control? Freewrite for ten minutes, beginning with, “I’m angry because …”
*What does your anger tell you about your life? What does it tell you about yourself?
*Write a conversation with your anger. Ask it why it exists and what positive action it wants you to take to feel better.
*Write several concrete steps you can take, along with how you will accomplish them. How can you respond differently or what do you need to do to protect yourself from being hurt again? For example, if, after writing, you decide your response was due to something that happened long ago—in other words, the recent behavior or event didn’t actually cause, but triggered your anger—you may decide to spend several sessions writing about the original event, or you may decide to seek therapy. If you decide that you need to remove yourself from a harmful situation, write down the actions you need to take.
*Freewrite for ten minutes about all the ways your anger empowers you to change your life, beginning with, “My anger empowers me to …”
The bottom line? Anger can be a negative, destructive emotion, but it doesn’t need to be. When you use writing to process and learn about your anger, you’ll have the power to choose what you want to do with it.
Writing Through a Breakup
*I’m angry that…
*I’m hurt because…
*What I wish you knew was…
*I deserve more because…
*I’m moving on now because…
*My wish for you is…
*My hope for me is…
Writing For Personal Development
*Think about the most painful experience in your past and write about the ways it has affected who you are today.
*What scares you?
*Do you have a plan? Do you need a plan? Have you had a plan fall spectacularly to pieces? What did you learn?
*What is your take on soul mates?
*Are you a worrier? Is there a particular worry that you can’t shake? How do you cope with worry?
*Dear Past Me . . .
*Dear Future Me . . .
Writing Through Anxiety
For each fear or concern, try to write at least one (but preferably more) way in which you could think about it differently. Generate a new story for yourself, a new set of possibilities, and write them on paper next to the fears that are in your head right now.It can be helpful to examine your cognitive distortions to see how you might benefit from changing habitual stress-inducing thought patterns.
Look at what might happen. Now think about the biggest challenges you’ve faced and overcome. Looking at your strongest, wisest moments, do you think you could use that same strength and wisdom to prevail in this potential challenge as well? What do you think you could learn from it, and in what ways do you think you would gain strength as you face these new obstacles?
When you look at what is concerning you right now, explore your other options. Would it be possible for things to be different right now? Is there something that you could do to change your circumstances or your thoughts about your circumstances?
Come up with at least one thing you can do right now that would improve your life and prepare you for what you fear. This could be to build your resources by reaching out to friends and strengthening your relationships. You could build skills that you could use now, but would also come in handy if your fears were realized. You could work on creating an effective stress management plan so you may be more emotionally resilient if you face a big challenge and need to endure some extra stress. Putting your energy toward doing something can help you move out of a place of anxiety and toward a place of empowerment. Then even if you don’t need them, you have resources that can help you in your life now, and you’ve distracted yourself in the process. Coming up with a list of such possibilities is the first step.
Journal prompts courtesy of Writing Through Life & VeryWell. If you’re facing a particular problem not covered here and would like some journal prompts, message me. Happy to help.