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How to Use Dynamic Journaling for Emotional Well-Being

Aug 31, 2020 11:00AM ● By Laura Stukel
Journal writing is a handy toolkit for wellness whenever we need it. It combines the best of mindfulness with an approach that leads to achieving goals, relieving stress and healing emotions. A hot bath, for instance, is not therapy, but it can be therapeutic.

The same goes for journal writing. It’s easy to get beyond the cliché, “Dear Diary, today I…” prompt and benefit from a wider range of journal writing activities with just a few simple concepts.

During the health pandemic, journal writing has been recommended as a wellness strategy by experts ranging from NASA astronaut Mark Kelly to the Mayo Clinic. During stressful times, more impact can actually come from less writing.

Tips For Effective Journal Writing

Set a timer. A five-minute alarm on your phone instantly boosts journal writing insights. The time commitment becomes a lot easier, but more importantly, the quick deadline distracts your inner critic for a more balanced and honest writing session.

Start intentionally. Best practices for meditation, yoga or exercise apply to journal writing, as well. Get comfortable, take some deep breaths and be present to yourself. Inspiration is everywhere—a long walk, music or a favorite quote are great springboards into journal writing.

End in reflection. Any journal entry will help you clarify, vent and process. Adding a “reflection write” at the end brings self-coaching and personal growth. Take a moment to reread what you have written and be present with it. Then notice any emotions. physical responses, surprises or new ideas. Then write one last sentence in reflection. Inner wisdom is here.

 Introduce Variety Into Writing Activities

Different types of journal writing activities lead to different results. For example:

◆ Write about yourself one year from today for goal-setting.

◆ Write about yourself from the perspective of a person who is pushing your buttons for new insight on the relationship.

◆ Use a daily gratitude journal to focus on the simple things in your life.

Research by the Center for Journal Therapy suggests that an ideal practice is 10 to 15 minutes of writing (including a reflection write), about three days per week. Such a practice creates space to track the progress of our life and direct self-coaching and healing.

Practicing journal writing regularly offers many benefits, including helping us stay on track to achieve goals, keeping us in the now and building our writing and language skills. Jotting down our thoughts and recollections may also help to improve perception of details, and even our memory skills.

Call Laura Stukel at 773-251-1631, email [email protected] or visit