Last month, I wrote a blog article about structured approaches to journaling, which I hope were able to check out. Journaling can be a powerful tool for healing from trauma and dealing with the day-to-day stressors of life. Journaling provides a safe and private space to express thoughts, emotions, and experiences, helping to process and release pent-up feelings.
Not everyone loves the “Dear Diary” narrative format (present company included), so I want to offer you five fun and creative ways to start a journaling practice.
- Discover the Power of Quotes: Begin your journaling with a powerful quote that resonates with your experiences. Select a quote that speaks to your emotions, aspirations, or the challenges you’ve faced. Write it down in your journal. You can try using different colored pens and each color can represent a different emotion. As you write, reflect on the quote’s meaning in relation to your own experiences. I like this prompt because the blank page can be intimidating and might not know what to write or where to begin.
- Create Visual Collages: Visuals can often convey feelings that words struggle to capture. Isn’t it true that a picture is worth a thousand words? Cut out pictures from magazines or print images that symbolize different emotions, hopes, and goals related to your healing journey. Glue these images into your journal and write a word or short phrase beneath each picture that reflects your experience. This creative process can help you explore your emotions in a unique and visually engaging way, cultivating a deeper connection with your journaling practice.
- Capture Emerging Words: In your journaling sessions, I invite you to identify a single word that resonates with you at that moment. This word could represent an emotion you’re feeling, a realization you’ve had, or a quality you want to nurture. Write this word prominently on the page and allow it to become a focal point for your reflections. Over time, as you look back at these words, you will witness your own shifts of healing and growth. One word can capture a lot.
- Embrace Stream of Consciousness Writing: Sometimes, the best way to release thoughts and emotions is to simply let them flow onto the page without judgment or structure. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about grammar, just allow your thoughts to pour out. This unfiltered stream-of-consciousness writing can help you uncover hidden emotions, untangle complex feelings, and gain clarity on your experiences. It’s a freeing way to empty your mind onto the paper and make space for healing. Don’t overthink it, pen to the paper, and go!
- Dialogue with Your Inner Self: Imagine having a conversation with your inner self—the part of you that holds your feelings, fears, and dreams. Write a note in your journal as if you’re speaking to this inner self, expressing your thoughts and emotions openly. Then, respond as your inner self, offering guidance, comfort, and understanding. This exercise can facilitate a deeper connection with your emotions and provide a sense of self-compassion. What would you want the highest and wisest part of you to say? Again, this is a prompt to try without overthinking it.
Starting a journaling practice within the context of trauma recovery can be both therapeutic and empowering. Incorporating these creative techniques can make the process enjoyable and meaningful. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to journal—what matters most is that you are giving yourself the space to explore your emotions and experiences in a way that feels authentic to you.
When you start anything new, be patient with yourself. Healing takes time, and your journal can serve as a tool and companion along the way, capturing your growth, insights, and moments of strength. Through these five fun journaling methods, you’ll find a safe outlet to process your trauma, gain a deeper understanding of yourself, and move forward on your path to recovery.
Call to Action:
I invite you to try one of these fun approaches and carve out a space for your thoughts, emotions, and reflections. Start with 2-3 minutes, make it realistic for your life and schedule. Remember that every step counts no matter how small it might be.
Are you a therapist or coach looking to expand your therapeutic toolkit? I invite you to explore my course on journaling.
Visit https://app.ce-go.com/erenadigonis/courses to learn more and enroll today.
I am Erena, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Health Coach, and trauma advocate based in New York. I am the founder of a group practice that specializes in working with clients who have anxiety and complex trauma.
As a New York State approved Continuing Education Provider for Social Workers, I am committed to ongoing education and staying up-to-date with the latest research in my field. In addition to treating clients in my practice, I supervise dozens of clinicians and coaches from diverse backgrounds. I have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Psychology Today, Reader’s Digest, Women’s Health, and MEL magazine. I am a proud member of the CPTSD Foundation Advisory Board.