The notion of catharsis, or ‘getting it all out’ as a means of improving wellbeing is fairly well established. Often just the proces of verbalising what’s concerning you or how you’re feeling is a great way to clear unsettled feelings and the therapeutic benefits of getting it all “off your chest” are well known.
Did you know that catharsis doesn’t need to necessarily take the verbal form and that getting it all out onto pages in a book are another valuable way to express and get your feelings out there. In fact it could be argued that in some ways journalling is a more effective means of catharsis and here’s why:
– the risk of offending the person you’re offloading to is reduced if you’re not actually talking to someone but are more writing for your own purposes
– it’s cheaper than talking to a therapist
– you can vent in a journal whenever you like (no need to ruminate or wake some one up at 3 am because you need to have a chat)
– you have a record of past trials and tribulations to access in the future. Looking back over your journal entries to see how you felt about and handled situations can prove to be a valuable resource (certain behaviour pattern or themes may become apparent or you may find solutions to current problems based on ways you handled issues previously).
When journalling remember to just let the words flow. It doesn’t matter if they seem to be jumbled or nonsense. Sometimes it’s getting the confused thoughts out there that helps you to make sense of situations and make connections between your thoughts and feelings.
The process of gratitude journalling has also been proven to be very effective. Some clients I’ve worked with say that writing down three things they are grateful for every night is a bit overkill but doing it a few times a week is completely manageable and beneficial as focussing on the blessings we have in our lives (even after a crappy day) makes things seem so much better (for more information on gratitude, check the previous post ‘G is for Gratitude’).