HSP Toolbox: Daily Journaling

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+.

19 Comments

  1. Nathan Ohren on May 9, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Natasha, this is an excellent summary. So many people ask me questions about the benefits of journal-writing, and this article summarizes so much in such a clear and persuasive manner. I hope you will listen to my podcast “JournalTalk” www [dot] Write4Life [dot] us/JournalTalk to hear some of the interviews I have with people about journaling. Perhaps you’d like to be a guest someday?



    • Natasha Akery on May 10, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      Nathan,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. I will be sure to check out your podcast and get in touch with you if I feel I have something valuable to contribute!



  2. Alex Zander on January 19, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Does anyone else find it difficult to journal, because it makes things worse? I get worked up.



    • Maria Hill on January 19, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      Hi Alex,

      Journaling may open the door to feelings you have. Putting them on paper is a great way to release them which helps to process and heal feelings. Doing a little at a time is a safe approach that may help you. Good luck!

      Maria



    • Tania Tyler on July 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Getting the thoughts out on paper helps to release them from the body… I feel it is definitely best with this purging type of journaling to NOT read back over what you wrote. Reading it back over adds energy back to what got released and brings it back into the body again. I have my Reiki students journal this way but just in a plain notebook or pad & burn the pages afterwards with gratitude for what ever was learned through the experience/emotions. This opens up space in the body for better energy (more positive) to enter.



    • maria hill Maria Hill on July 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks Tania, that makes perfect sense.

      All the best,
      Maria



  3. jen smith on January 20, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Journalling has made a big difference to me too.
    Before I read “write down your soul” by Janet Conner, I had a fear that someone would read what I’d written, but she addressed this in her book and it was a light bulb moment for me to realise I could tear up or delete what I had written afterwards, it really freed me up.
    Thanks for the reminder and excited to discover your site!



    • Maria Hill on January 20, 2015 at 7:16 am

      Thanks, Jen and welcome! Journaling is such a great way to acknowledge ourselves. Thanks for sharing your find, Write Down Your Soul by Janet Connor – it sounds like a valuable read.

      All the best,
      Maria