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Keep a journal to discover, grow and heal

Keep a journal to discover, grow and heal

Keep a journal to discover, grow and healJournaling can be a path to discovery. It allows you to express troubling thoughts and emotions, examine your options for problem-solving and gain insight for self-improvement.

Writing, then reviewing what you’ve written, allows you to do reality checks and adjust your response to what’s happening in your life. You’ll also see how you’ve made progress and solved problems.

“I can be my own worst enemy,” said Ellen. “I start thinking about my mistakes and my failures, and what I think other people think about me. Then I get really depressed. When I write it all down and read it over, I can see that I’ve really exaggerated a lot of it. When it’s in writing, I can see how I twist reality. And, then I feel the cloud lift.”

A journal provides a place where you can express feelings or concerns that you can’t share with anyone else, or aren’t ready to share. “It can be a place for people to talk and be honest with themselves in a way that may be difficult under other circumstances,” writes Phil Rich, Ed.D., MSW, author of The Healing Journey: Your Journal of Self-Discovery. “And journals can allow people to get in touch with parts of themselves that are hidden under the surface.”

If you’re working with a therapist, journaling can help you review issues that come up in a therapy session or record thoughts or events that you want to bring up with your therapist later.

Tips for journaling

  • Schedule a regular time for writing.
  • Make yourself comfortable: play soft music, sit by a sunny window.
  • Keep your journal where you will see it to remind yourself to write, unless you need to tuck it away for privacy.
  • It may be right for you to write a little every day, or to take out your book only when you feel a need.
  • Don’t worry about spelling and punctuation and don’t edit yourself.
  • Be inspired by an elegant leather-bound book, or find a spiral notebook less intimidating.
  • Write about your thoughts and feelings, dreams, problems, goals, observations, growth and questions.


The Healing Journey: Your Journal of Self-Discovery by Phil Rich, Ed.D., MSW and The Artist’s Way series by Julia Cameron.

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