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Journaling: What Is It and How to Use It for Healing?

After publishing a blog post about how writing can help with our healing from trauma and pain, I was invited to join an online summit to talk on this topic. Since I have had several people contact me, wanting to know more about journaling for healing. I, therefore, decided to write more about this technique. What is journaling, and how can it be used for healing? As a bonus, I have created some unique journaling prompts that you can download for free here. These will not only help you to start journaling but also keep you going when you get stuck.

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Read also ‘Finding Gratitude After a Serious Injury and Healing PTSD Through Writing – MatChat Wellbeing Podcast

  What is journaling for healing? 

Journaling is writing for therapeutic purposes and therefore differs from keeping a diary. The main difference is the higher level of structure. You can use prompts, exercises or professional guidance to help you. It is a form of therapy that can be undertaken individually, in a group or with a mental health professional. There are also different types of journals that you can keep such as gratitude journals, well-being journals, grief journals and self-care journals. 

When journaling for healing we are putting our deepest thoughts and feelings on paper. Therefore, it is essential that we are honest with our thoughts. It allows you to get what you are dealing with off your mind as you empty your head onto the page. Journaling provides a safe environment that enables us to face whatever we went through. Acknowledging and confronting difficult emotions allows the healing process to begin.  

And just as with healing, journaling can be hard and even overwhelming at times. Self-care is therefore crucial. I provided tips on writing for healing in my previous blog post so I would recommend that you look them up.  

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Read also ‘Writing and PTSD: How Writing Is Helping Me to Cope With PTSD – PTSD UK Guest Blog

Benefits of journaling 

There are many benefits that writing for healing has on both our physical and mental health. Journaling is a healthy therapeutic tool that aids our healing and growth as we try to change our lives. By documenting our thoughts, feelings and behaviour we can go back to our words later and track our progress.

Studies show that journaling can reduce the effects of pain as well as help manage stress, depression and anxiety. Journaling can help us to calm our minds after a stressful situation. By writing down our negative thoughts our thinking patterns are interrupted and the brain opens back up to other ways of thinking. We are literally writing ourselves out of trouble.  

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Read also ‘How to Use Writing as a Healing Tool for Trauma and Pain

How to journal for healing? 

There aren’t many rules for journaling for healing, just those discussed above. But before you start journaling, I would recommend that you read the tips and steps to writing included in my previous post. They will help you to start writing and keep going. When journaling, it is however important to set your goals, be honest with yourself and define your ‘why’. Why do you want to write, what makes you write and what are your goals? How do you plan to achieve these goals? Do you have a plan and do you need any support to reach these goals?  

Ask yourself these questions, choose what medium you want to use and start to write. You can write in the first or third person. Many people actually prefer to write in the third person as this way they can look at themselves in a less judgemental and more open-minded view. Are you stuck, unsure what to write? Then using prompts or questions can ease the block and help keep you journaling. Download your free prompts here. You may also want to download my e-book 7 Keys To Self-Healing, A Trauma Survivor’s Guide, as the prompts have been carefully crafted to coincide with the seven tools in the guide.

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Download your free Journaling Guide here

Thank you and till the next blog post,

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18 thoughts on “Journaling: What Is It and How to Use It for Healing?”

  1. Hi. I don’t know if you include this in your instructions about journals but I had an experience worth noting. It is so very important to protect your journals. I wrote for years in hope that one day I could reference them while writing a book about abuses and my personal journey.
    My journals were stolen and made public. This was very painful but what came out of it was that I wrote a very different book. If this supports you great. If you are interested my book is Recognizing Beauty. All my best to you. —Cyndi Burrough

    1. Thank you for sharing, and I am really glad that my post made you try it. Let me know how you are getting on. And if you need any help, you can always download my free journaling prompts or email me. I am only a message away. All the best!

  2. I love journaling and agree that it’s a great way to facilitate healing. One of the great takeaways I got from this article is that you just have to go slow and not rush things. Journaling is a practice, not a science and it’s a tool, not a catch all idea. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas on this amazing and super relevant subject 🙂

  3. I’ve found that journaling is the best way to get in touch with myself and figure out where to go from whatever my current situation is. It just lays out everything so much more clearly than when everything is tumbling around in my head.

      1. Thank you, and feel free to download my free Journaling Prompts. They will help you on your journaling journey. And if you feel stuck, I am always happy to help. All the best!

  4. I love journaling it has become such a big deal in my life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, awesome post.

  5. Journaling provides a safe and private space to express your emotions, thoughts, and feelings. This can help reduce stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil by allowing you to process and release pent-up emotions.

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