Keeping a journal can be a good way to learn more about your thoughts and feelings. It's not always easy—it can be painful to write about bad feelings—but writing a journal is one of the best self-help methods you can use.
To help you get started, here are some tips, and a sample journal entry.
Tips for keeping a journal
· Instead of just writing about events and happenings, focus on your thoughts and feelings about those events.
· Write for yourself only. This forces you to be honest. (At some point, though, you may want to share the journal with someone. This could be a therapist, or a very trusted friend or family member who can give you feedback.)
· Set the stage for writing. Find a comfortable spot to sit, take a deep breath, and begin. Write for 20 minutes without stopping.
· Write every day, if possible. It may help to write at the same time every day, maybe after dinner or before bed.
· Remember that the way you write doesn't matter. You don't have to use complete sentences, correct punctuation, or any punctuation, for that matter.
· Buy a journal you'll enjoy using, perhaps with illustrations or colored pages. Use colored pens or pencils if you like.
· If you really don't like to write, record your thoughts on a mini-cassette recorder.
"I nearly didn't get out of bed today. The only thing that got me going was the thought that I would get fired if I didn't go to work. Some days, it seems like no matter how hard I try, I can't do anything right and no one understands how I feel. I just feel so very tired, tired to the bone."