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How Journaling Helps you Process Emotions

The art of journaling is to sit down to write and find that the pages fill themselves with stories about your life that you aren't even consciously aware of.
Journaling can help you process your emotions and work through your blockages whether they're related to past, current or future events. A continued practice will lead you to a better understanding of yourself and reconnecting with the most authentic version of you. Image of someone journalling.

I’m one of those people who swear by journaling.

Something about stopping everything that I’m doing and taking an honest look at myself and my mind allows me to identify toxic mental patterns and let go of them.

When I look back at my journals, not only do they provide me with a snapshot of my mind years ago, they give me the opportunity to see how I’ve grown over time. It’s easy to fall into a lull and feel like nothing ever changes, but having that reference point can really make you realize that, yes, you are growing.

And that’s exactly what your journal is: a candid collection of snapshots of your own mind.

I have personally experienced the profound transformation that journaling brings and can confidently stand behind the practice and talk to you about the deep psychology involved.

When you should Journal

I would honestly say that you should journal as often as you can.

You must have experienced that when you’re in the midst of an emotional storm, you are far away from your authentic self. You may behave in ways that are uncharacteristic of you and regret those actions later, taking you even further away from the happiest version of you. Bottling up these emotions make them that much more intense.

Journaling or Sharing with a Friend?

Both journaling and sharing have their own place in your life.

Sharing with someone can relieve some of the tension that you’re experiencing. The trouble is that you’ll subconsciously filter yourself. You won’t express the thoughts that are closest to your heart because you’re not used to being that vulnerable in front of anyone, not even yourself.

journaling | How Journaling Helps you Process Emotions

Your perception of how you feel brings you misery.

You’ve judged your emotions to be wrong and you’ve labelled yourself as wrong for having them.

So when sharing, you’ll focus more on other people’s actions and flaws rather than what their actions made you feel and why. Unless the person with whom you’re sharing with knows you inside out and you’re comfortable baring your soul to this person, you won’t be able to be completely vulnerable.

Being vulnerable and experiencing your emotions as they are is what will free you from them.

The main difference between journaling about something and sharing your thoughts with someone is that you won’t feel judged by your journal. You’ll be able to write things that you’ve never said aloud and maybe haven’t even admitted to yourself. And regardless what you write in your journal, your journal will always be there for you. The pages of your journal will never turn you away.

In truth, your journal is the most patient companion you will ever have. It will absorb everything you put into it without judgment and continuously provide you with space and time to process your emotions and move on in life.

Journaling to Process Emotions

The premise of journaling is exactly this. Building a journaling practice allows you to be explicit with yourself about how to you feel. This is what will ultimately allow you to process your emotions and move through your blockages.

When you write down your thoughts, emotions and events in your life, you are actively removing them from your mental space and freeing yourself from them. You may have noticed that things in the physical world only last so long, but once they make an impression on your mind, they can be there for exponentially longer.

Take the example of the happiest moments from your childhood. Those moments ended years ago, but they live on in your mind to this day.

The difference between positive and negative moments is that negative thoughts and emotions tend to spiral. Their influence (if left unchecked) is therefore much stronger than that of positive moments in your life.

In negative moments, there is often an aspect of negative self-talk. Positive moments just happen but in negative moments, all of a sudden they become your fault or something that is happening to you as opposed to just happening.

Starting a Journaling Practice

Initially, journaling may seem like just a recount of your day, but that’s okay. Keep writing!

The more time you spend with your journal, the more comfortable you’ll become expressing your thoughts. This is the key to diving deeper into the layers of your mind and psychology. Being consistently open with yourself about how you feel is what will lead you home to your authentic self.

Oftentimes, you don’t admit things even to yourself. You feel a certain way, and a part of you is ashamed for feeling that way. You respond by avoiding these emotions and not letting yourself experience the jealousy, anger, insecurity, greed or whatever negative emotions are manifesting.

journaling | How Journaling Helps you Process Emotions

Here’s what happens when you ignore your emotions.

Think of your mind as a maze with one hidden exit. Your thoughts, emotions and all the impressions on your mind are other people wandering this maze. They’re drawn to you because you know how to exit the maze, but every time they come near you, you become overwhelmed by their stories and run away. They have no choice but to follow you and try again.

This is a simplified version of the energetics behind why you see recurring patterns and emotions in your life.

The visitors in the maze of your mind attract real life situations to you as opportunities to work through your blockages.

These difficult situations present you with a choice. Your first option is to respond the same way you always do and avoid the harsh truths of the situation (i.e. run from the visitors in your mind). The second option is to face the music and just breathe through it. In this option, you’re listening patiently to your mind’s visitors and learning the lesson they are trying to teach you. By hearing them out, you’re able to release them from your mind and move on with your life for good.

The truth is that whatever you may be going through, it won’t go away until you stop running and truly face it.

Face the fear, the guilt, the rejection, the small feeling inside, and let it go forever. Weather the storm once, and you’ll be that much stronger and more prepared for the next ones.

Give yourself space and time

Be patient with yourself. Don’t judge yourself for feeling how you feel.

Know that your emotions don’t define you. They are just like clouds passing by in the sky that is you. Whether they’re puffy, white clouds or dark, storm clouds, the sky remains untouched.

Set aside 20 – 30 minutes every day or every other day to journal. This will allow you to become more and more comfortable with where you are in life. You won’t shy away from your emotions or the situations in your life and you’ll be able to see things as they are even if you haven’t fully accepted them.

In this way, it will become easier and easier for you to come to terms with everything that’s happening around you.

Pretty soon, you’ll sit down with your journal and your hand will begin moving on its own, writing stories about your life that you aren’t even consciously aware of.

You’ll feel lighter and more balanced. You won’t hold on to things and you’ll be more willing and able to see the bigger picture. Beyond your journal, your communication skills will improve and you won’t be telling your friends the same stories over and over again.

This is what will take you past the emotional storm, help you start your spiritual awakening journey, raise your level of consciousness and reconnect your authentic self.

Life will begin to flow again and you’ll be that much happier.

Image of 3 women laughing and moving with the flow of life.
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Parm Saggu

Hey, I'm Parm! I help people who long for a deeper meaning in life but feel caged by societal expectations to break free, uncover the secrets of life, and forge a path to be the difference they want to see in the world.

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