How to Journal to Enhance Resilience and Emotion Processing

There is a lot going on in the world right now and it is bringing up a lot of feelings for many. It is important that we find a way to process these feelings so they don’t get sticky or “stuck”. Journalling is a great way to help us along the process of NAME IT- SOOTHE IT- MOVE IT.

Here are some practical tips for journaling to enhance resilience and emotion processing:

  • Structure and a time limit make approaching the task of emotion processing less threatening or overwhelming. Set a timer for a set amount of time each day; I recommend starting with anywhere from 5-10 minutes per day.
  • When starting, stick to the time limit then switch into doing something physical (walk, ball slams, sing), grounding (ie. Box breathing, Meditating, Where are my feet?) or very engaging (a complicated or creative task) to allow yourself a break to re-group instead of getting stuck in the emotions that came up.  

You won’t finish all the points below in a single sitting, so get through a little bit each day when starting.

LIST any pain points that come up for you. This includes any memories or situations that elicit emotions when you think of them.

FOR EACH SEPARATE PAIN POINT:

  1. DESCRIBE the event as you experienced it .
  2. Write out the IMPACT that event had on you, specifically, how do you think it impacted you…
    • Socially (relationships, self-esteem, expression of emotions)
    • Emotionally (value of emotions, how you cope, how you value yourself, your opinion, self-care)
    • Physically (priority of self-care, awareness and attunement to physical needs like sleep, diet, exercise, etc)
    • Meaning making (how you feel you contribute to something greater than yourself, where you get your sense of value or worth)
  3. MEANING MAKING:
    • What did you LOSE as a result of this situation? ie. Sense of safety, comfort, control, self-esteem, money, objects, relationships etc.
    • What did you GAIN as a result of this situation? ie. Experience with betrayal, needing to see if I could stand on my own two feet, an understanding that I was relying on someone else to convince me I was good enough or giving my sense of safety and worth to things outside of myself etc.
    • What did you LEARN from this experience?What are the ACTION POINTS you will do different in the future as a result of your learning? ie. That I tend to fill my future with my past hurts and to redirect myself to how do I feel NOW, in the present about those things that hurt me in the past.

I hope this helps. Stay safe everyone! – Dr. E. Adriana Wilson