How to Use Journaling to Resolve Emotions

amandaH12.16

Vent. Reflect. Resolve. Writing Is Good for Your Emotional Health.


How do you express yourself when your emotions are hot? Do you yell, cuss, stamp your feet or slam doors?

Throwing a fit may feel like a release in the moment, but it can leave you feeling worse, or doing damage control on relationships.

On the other hand, bottling up strong emotions is no good either. Emotions are energy, and energy cannot be destroyed, only converted. Strong feelings unexpressed will soak into your energy system and cause more problems later. It’s like spilling red wine on the couch. You better get it up quick or it may never come out!

There is a better way. When you feel emotions strongly, writing them down on paper allows you to get them out of your system in a productive way. It can help you access thoughts and feelings, identify and release those that are troubling you, shift your perspective, find solutions and even resolve disagreements.

Here’s how to use journaling to express and resolve emotions:

1. Let it all out. Write down everything that has you upset. You may not have a clear idea of what that is when you start writing, but once you start, you will be amazed at what you put down on paper. It doesn’t have to make sense, be spelled correctly, or have perfect grammar. Just vent until you feel like you are done. This may take a while, especially if it has been a while since you let things out.

2. Look at it from a new angle. After you get your frustrations down on paper, it’s time to shift your perspective. If you are upset with a person, think about their point of view. Whether you know the person or you don’t know the person, you can ask yourself a few questions to help you look at the situation a different way. For instance, what might they be going through? If a trauma or tragedy happened to you or someone you love, it may be hard to understand why. Sometimes, there is no simple answer. But if you can manage to shift your perspective, even a little, it can help you to reframe it in your mind so you can let go and heal.

3. Identify the silver lining. Explore what happened by asking yourself:

  • What did I learn from this situation?

  • If it happened again, what would I change about my reaction to it?

  • Did the situation highlight or trigger any of my traumatic or verbal inhibitory imprints (unresolved feelings) that I can work on healing?

  • Would I take any additional or different actions?

Our problem-solving brain is activated when we write things down. This is where you put that to good use.

If what you are journaling about requires action on your part, think out your resolution and write out the whole thing in your journal. This way, you can go back and read it, memorizing what you need to do to resolve the situation. For instance, if you did not get a job you were seeking, what is your next step? You might resolve to start fresh tomorrow sending out resumes or make a list of all the contacts you can think of that could help.

If what you are upset about requires making amends with someone, wait until the person is calm to approach them. Nothing goes further than an apology. If you have an awareness of why you reacted the way you did and it was out of line, help them understand where your reaction was coming from, such as, “I get angry when people are trying to be funny and jump out to scare me because I was assaulted. I’m working on healing this, but it takes time.” Letting them know you are aware your behavior was “off” and that you are working to resolve it moves people from a place of disdain to compassion for you.

If you feel someone else’s behavior was out of line and you feel comfortable talking to them, wait until they are calm and have a conversation if you feel it would be helpful. Sometimes, people aren’t aware of how they come across to others and may be receptive to your perspective. Keep in mind that people are extremely wounded and will not react well to this type of input. Use your best judgment.

Keep in mind, this process takes time and patience. You may not do it all in one sitting. You might want to just vent and come back to it later. But doing all of the steps will help you to process emotions and situations better in the long run.

Available Now

In her groundbreaking new book, Feel Better in Five Minutes: An Empowering Guide to Gain Control Over Your Emotions, Intuitive Healer and Author Amanda Hainline helps to empower you with quick and easy ways to feel better. Right now.

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