HSP Toolbox: Daily Journaling


Photo by Hayley Maxwell on Unsplash

Highly sensitive people tend to be empathic by nature, but focusing on the wants and needs of others can sometimes result in self-neglect. Unexpressed thoughts or feelings can lead to stress, anxiety, and poor health. However, expressing yourself does not mean you have to confide in another person. The simple act of writing on paper gives you an outlet for your inner life and protects you from reactions or criticisms that a person might have. Journaling might seem like a daunting task, but if you keep your expectations low, you can create a safe place for honesty.

Daily Journaling

You do not have to be a great writer or have nice penmanship to benefit from this activity. You just need to be honest with and compassionate toward yourself.

  1. Necessary tools: a notebook and a pen. I encourage you to write, not to type. You could do this activity with a word processor on your computer, but the act of writing by hand discourages self-criticism and impulsive editing.
  2. Write two pages in long hand, front and back. The ominous tick of a timer can interrupt the flow of your thoughts onto the page. By setting a goal to write until you’ve filled up two pages, you’re free to take as much or as little time as you need.
  3. Do not censor or editYour inner critic will want to scratch out a poorly worded sentence. Your mind is not subject to readership.
  4. Be honest. Your inner empath will refrain from saying what you really feel (i.e. “My neighbor is so rude for blasting the music at 2 AM.”). No one will see these pages but you. You can’t afford to lie to yourself.
  5. Keep writing. Even if you have nothing to write about, then write: “I have nothing to write about.” Keep the physical act of writing going no matter how pointless it seems.
  6. Do it daily. Committing to daily journaling is for your wellbeing. You do it daily because you deserve to be honest with yourself daily. You deserve to say exactly what’s on your heart and mind. You deserve to put yourself first for two pages a day.
  7. Be mindful. Over time, you will notice subtle changes in your self-awareness and mood. Take note of the themes in your writing and how your issues resolve through pen and paper.

You can combine this activity with the Breathing Meditation to create a healthy ritual to start or end your day.

About ladyakery

Natasha Akery is a writer and editor for One for One Thousand, an online writing and photography community. She is a certified yoga instructor and earned a B.A. in Religious Studies. Natasha lives in South Carolina with her husband Matt and daughter Eleanor. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.


  1. Anja on January 26, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Journaling can be great, I agree – I’ve been writing since my teenage years, and later started doing Julia Cameron’s “morning pages”, which is rather similar to what you describe. Quite often it’s helpful to me, but at times I find that the journaling actually makes me feel more oversensitive to everything that’s going on – and me then less capable to deal with the everyday stress of life, and at times I get into “head-analysis” space while writing, which is one way to not actually feel what I’m feeling. I wonder if others have made this experience as well.

    • Maria Hill on January 26, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Anja,

      I personally like journaling to release anything that builds up. Unfortunately if something is unresolved it may come up again and again until we resolve it and so it may show up in our journaling. That may or may not be happening for you. I think the less you judge yourself and the more you simply release the easier it will be for you to move on from what is coming up for you. I hope this helps.

      All the best,

    • Anja on January 28, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      It does help, thank you – it’s always good to be reminded of that :).