Is your journal writing practice serving you?
“We write to heal when our soul is aching. What would happen if we wrote for happiness when our soul was shining?” Story Pieces
Have you ever thought about keeping a journal that documented your happiness journey?
I love writing in journals and have used them for many years to explore past hurts in order to heal. As I was looking back through my old journals, I noticed that I have been using them a lot to record (perhaps complain) about all the things that seem to go wrong in life – relationship difficulties, not feeling worthy, putting on weight, and so on. What was most shocking was that I predominantly had the same complaints over and over again.
I think a lot of us do that. We use our journals to unload difficult feelings, such as anger, frustration, and grief. We turn to writing when times are tough but we don’t even think about writing when things are going well. Of course, there is nothing wrong with writing through hardship. The work of James Pennebaker provides ample evidence that reflective writing about past traumas helps us to heal. It is important to explore our grief, disappointment, and loneliness. But it is not helpful when we inhabit them on the page time and time again. When our journal becomes a place where we only unload our negative feelings, without finding a solution or gaining insight, we can start to feel a little chaotic, out of control, and confused.
We can use a technique called positive journaling to essentially write ourselves happy. Positive journaling fuses positive psychology and creative journaling so that our journals become a sacred place where we can uncover and explore our positive emotions. By recording positive moments from our past and present, we create a living road map of our happiness journeys.
Positive journaling helps to fill our hearts with joy, love, excitement, and gratitude. Writing with positive emotions is a powerful tool to bring more energy and fulfilment into our lives. It can even serve as a soothing balm during difficult times, providing us with a different way to journal during hardship. In short, positive journaling helps us to flourish.
If you want to learn more about positive journaling, join our online course: Flourish: Experiments in Happiness, where we will create a Flourish Journal using the techniques of positive journaling.
You may also want to explore our blog post: 10 benefits of journaling for happiness.