Invitation to Risk: Healing Your Story Through Journaling

Invitation to Risk: Healing Your Story Through Journaling

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I got a new journal last year in April that was green and I distinctly remember telling my family that the journal was a symbol of flourishing in the days to come. At the time, I did not know that one of the hardest seasons of my life was ahead of me. I had to start a new journal this past week since I ran out of pages. The XL green moleskin has sustained me this past year in rich and meaningful ways. I can recall the morning that I got the news about my dad’s death I was writing in my journal. The journal is filled with stories, to-do list, scriptures, and things that look random to an outsider. Journaling is a transformative tool for self-coaching and a simple process to move forward in life.

As I look back on the XL green Moleskin journal I am reminded about God’s faithfulness. I have journaled for years, but this past year I found a new rhythm and rarely missed a day of journaling. Everyone uses a journal for different reasons and the forms and functions will look different. The primary benefit I have found this past year with my journal is that my identity has grown stronger and my emotional resilience has been formed in the crucible of life.

Dan Allender in Truth be Told: God Invites You to Coauthor Your Story would say it this way.

“In those moments of unnaming when we have lost ourselves, we must remember to return to our past redemptions to find God’s mark of glory on our abandonment, betrayal, and shame. We wrongly believe that we will be happy if we can escape the past. But without our past we are hollow and plastic beings with only common names and conventional stories. When we enter into our story at the point we lost our name, we are most likely to hear the whisper of our new name.”

In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness consider Therapeutic Journaling. This PDF and research from the University of Wisconsin Integrative Health Program will share the research and details on how and why one could consider using Therapeutic Journaling. The basic foundation of the protocols is to write for four consecutive days for 15-20 minutes about the same triggering event that is causing stress, anxiety, or depression. Below are four benefits worth considering.

  1. Emotional Release: Therapeutic journaling provides a safe space for individuals to express their emotions freely. The act of putting feelings into words can lead to a sense of relief and catharsis.
  2. Self-Reflection: Through journaling, individuals can gain insights into their thoughts, behaviors, and patterns. Regular reflection on journal entries can promote self-awareness and personal growth.
  3. Problem-Solving: Journaling can serve as a tool for problem-solving and decision-making. Writing about challenges or dilemmas can help individuals clarify their thoughts and explore potential solutions.
  4. Stress Reduction: Engaging in therapeutic journaling has been linked to reduced stress levels. The process of writing about stressors can help individuals process and cope with difficult emotions, leading to a greater sense of calm and well-being.

Therapeutic journaling is a profound practice that empowers individuals to explore their innermost thoughts and emotions, leading to greater self-awareness and personal growth. By creating a safe space for self-expression, embracing honesty and vulnerability, and establishing a consistent routine, anyone can harness the transformative power of journaling to navigate life’s complexities with grace and resilience.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, individuals who participated in therapeutic journaling, they experienced a significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression, with 80% reporting improvements in their overall mood and well-being after just four weeks of regular journaling.

Andrew Huberman with the Huberman Lab podcast did an in-depth podcast about this process last fall. You can find the notes and episode here.

When I sat down with my new journal this week, I took the first couple of mornings to set the stage by writing my daily prayer, identity statements, and anchoring scriptures to point towards another year of flourishing ahead. Although the new journal is XL black Moleskin I fully anticipate walking in favor with God because this allows me to bring meaning into the mundane and restory the complexities of life.

May you be encouraged to journal and flourish as God has designed.