Write It Down!: How to Journal for Success

Writing things down can help you continue in your success in and out of treatment. Journaling is a great way to reflect on the things that you learned during your day and can help you begin a conversation with yourself. You may struggle with self-talk or encouragement. Journaling can be a way of celebrating the victories of each day. The act of writing things out can help you to remember what you learned. You may need to check-in with your past entries periodically to recall coping skills that have helped you in the past. Here are a few different types of journals that you can try.

Gratitude Journals

When things are tough, you may be struggling to find the positive in your life. You may need to work at looking for the good. When you begin writing a gratitude journal, you can start to shift your focus to the positive things in your life. Gratitude is a way of expressing thanks to the things in life you may otherwise neglect noticing. During recovery, negative thoughts may loom overhead and you may struggle with feeling like there is any brightness in your life. You can start by writing down three things you are grateful for each day. They can range from simple things, like having running water available to you or more complex things, like having a loving and supportive family.

When you actively write out things you are grateful for, your brain starts to seek these things out during your day. As you continue to practice a gratitude journal, you start to think about your nightly entry throughout the day. Something may happen that makes you think, “This is something I can put on my list!” You will start to form the habit of seeking out the good things in life and things may not seem so bad.

Self Check-Ins

Simple self check-ins can remind you to look inward on how you are feeling throughout the day. Often, as your day goes by and you get busy with life, you might forget to check-in with your thoughts and feelings. By checking in and writing things down in a journal, you remind yourself to reflect on your daily actions. You can catch triggers or warning signs before things spiral out of control. Self check-ins do not need to be lengthy or complicated. You can take just a few minutes of your day and write how you are feeling.

You can check-in throughout the day by using your phone to jot down notes or a scrap piece of paper nearby. Try to complete three check-ins per day, upon waking, at some point during the day (during lunch or after work), and before going to bed. Like gratitude journals, you are building a habit and training your brain. With self check-ins, you are training your brain to remember to look out for yourself.

Daily Summaries

One of the most common ways to journal is by writing about your day before going to bed. This can help you reflect upon your day and track your progress in how things are going. Are your daily activities lining up with your goals and values? Are you feeling happy or sad? What are you thinking about doing tomorrow? Some days, you may have very little to say. Other days, you can fill up pages of your thoughts.

Remember to look back on your past entries and see what things have excited you the most or what things made you struggle. You can begin to notice patterns in your thoughts and behaviors by the activities that you engage in on a daily basis.

Free Writing to Get Started

No matter which style of journaling you choose, you may have a difficult time getting started. If writing is new to you, just set a timer for one minute, put pen to paper, and keep the pen moving for an entire minute. Free-writing can help you with writer’s block when you cannot think of anything to write about. Write without judgment or worry about spelling or grammar. Just keep the pen on the paper until the timer goes off. You may only write one or two words repeatedly. You might write about the frustrations of trying to write for one minute. As you engage in the activity, free of judgment or correction, you will see your thoughts begin to flow. You can start to clear your mind and get out of your head by completing this exercise.

Journaling can be a valuable tool for those in recovery. We can write out our thoughts and feelings to get them out to the world. We can learn to find things to be grateful for or learn to check-in with ourselves throughout the day. Journaling does not need to be complicated or technical. Our journals are for ourselves. We can use them to reflect upon our recovery and the things we do throughout the day. We might be able to remember our days more clearly when we journal regularly. We might be able to notice triggers and warning signs in our thoughts and feelings when we write things down. Take note of how you feel when you are journaling to keep track of your emotional state and find patterns of natural occurrences throughout the day. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment is here for those who may be struggling in their journey. We are here to help.

Call us at (303) 443-3343.

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