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Readers Respond: Tips for Writing and Journal Keeping as a Form of Therapy

Responses: 11

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Share Post: Writing is an economic form of therapy. But sometimes getting down to the business of putting words to paper can be difficult. Do you have any tips that you use to get the ink flowing? Please share!

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Letters

In addition to recording my thoughts and feeling, that often helps me in finding the source of a problem, identify and name a fear and find a solution to them. I discovered that whenever one person is very much in my mind, I write... letters. Sometimes my letters are full of hate and anger and that's good, as it release my remorse toward that person. Of course, I never send the letters, as their purpose is for me to SAY things, not for the other person to HEAR them.
—Guest Saudade

Gratitude Journals

My husband and I handbind a variety of different books under the name "Those Great Little Books" but we consistently find our Gratitude Journal is one of the most popular. From here in Victoria, BC, we have over the decade provided gratitude journals to people from all around the world and some of the feedback we get is very gratifying in itself, such as the family that keep one in a handy spot so they can all use it whenever they have something they are grateful for; like the lady who ordered about 20 for Christmas presents for everyone she knew after the one she was given as a gift. "Literally saved my life!" Some people need a little instruction though. One young lady, when we told her on bad days she could go back and before we could finish by saying remind yourself of what you're grateful for, she jumped in and responded "Oh, and rub them out!" She did end up with a journal, and the instructions as to how it SHOULD by used.
—marymacarthur

Journaling

I have started journaling and find it very helpful to have your journal always with you with pen attached. No searching for things!! I keep mine in my pocketbook so that when I feel the need to write my book is always there. It is amazing how it can lift your spirts, give you focus, and help you sort your thoughts.
—Guest JoAnne

Journaling ...

to remove the hamster wheel in my mind. Life is one thing after the other and learning to dance in the rain. I found that by using one of those daily pocket calendars to write a positive word or sentence daily clears my mind greatly. I didn't write at all in the past three months since my work assignment changed and increased, however, I have made a mental note of the good things and the negative things to note on certain dates. When I get home from work at 6am TODAY I am going to mow grass, do some other chores, and get that calendar and continue my notes. :)
—Guest Glenda

Nature is a wonderful healer

When I started journaling, I would sit outside somewhere near a tree or in the grass or near water. I especially love sitting near water (a pond, fountain, lake, the ocean is my most favorite). I would close my eyes, listen to the sounds I heard and begin writing. I have never been in a place of not having words to write. However, being in nature really helps me get to the meat of my issues. Somehow being in nature connects me to my inner self and I can write for what seems like forever. Keeping a journal is so wonderful. It is VERY helpful when trying to work out a problem as you have the opportunity to go back over it and see your progress. I also find that actually writing it is more effective for me than typing it on the computer. I don't seem to connect as well and I find that typing on the computer keeps me on the surface more. Journaling has helped me through my divorce, single parenthood, remarriage and finding a career path I absolutely love. It is AWESOME!!
—Guest Tammy

Freewriting

I find writing is a type of therapy for me. It often relaxes me when nothing else does. But there are those days when I just can't find the words to put to paper. That's when I will usually just do some freewriting. Whatever pops into my head I write down. Most of the time it ends up being a lot of disjointed thoughts, but other times it all makes a lot of sense :) Another thing I do is go to a public place, like the mall, pick a place to sit, and then do some people-watching. As I watch them, I write down what they may be thinking (from the expressions on their faces and how they move their hands, etc.), describe how they walk, and so on. It's surprising how watching other people helps relieve MY stess.
—Guest Kay

Draw, Doodle

Some days images just come easier than words. If I can't quite come up with the right words I start drawing and doodling on the page. Sometimes I glue a picture on the page (perhaps a photo I've taken or maybe something torn from a magazine that caught my eye). Then I might just start describing the photo or writing words / feelings that the image evokes. Generally the words just start flowing from there. If they don't, that's OK. I let the images speak for me instead. I use a pen and paper journal but I also have a computer journal program that allows drawing as well as importing pictures so either way if the words don't come right away I can draw inspiration from pictures.
—Guest Jacqueline

Don't Judge Your Journal

I am a strong believer in free-associating. As a writer by trade, my temptation is to judge and edit my journal on its literary merits. However, a strange thing I have found helps limit my self-judgment is to type my journal thoughts without using capitalization or punctuation of any kind. For me, this encourages a natural flow to allow me to just free-associate to my heart's content.
—Guest Natalie

Gratitude and Plans

I really love to write about the things I'm grateful--gratitude journaling. Whether I write in-depth about a few things or make long lists of items, I realize how rich I am and just feel...better. I also like to write about my goals, dreams and plans. Whether it's to align with the Law of Attraction or just to organize my thoughts and priorities, it feels empowering.
—Guest Elizabeth

The Blank Screen

If you journal on a computer, one trick I've learned is to turn off the monitor and start typing. Since you can't see what you've typed, you can't go back and edit yourself. The only option is to keep the ideas moving forward. This can be strangely liberating.
—college_admissions

Be Thankful

Even on the worst of days, there's almost always something to be thankful for. So write about it. But, write about the "crap" too. Getting it down on paper is very cathartic. Then, just let it go if you can. For on-going less-than-perfect situations, don't get bogged down in them! Write it down, let it go, and move on.
—Guest Connie G.

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