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Using Journaling to Change Your Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions
Journaling is a tool
Most people think of journaling as sitting down in a big over-stuffed chair with a leather-bound notebook and writing inspiring things to their children and grand-children. Although this may be one way to go about it, it is certainly not the only way.
Journaling delves into the inner being of the person, sharing beliefs, experiences and how they are interpreted, and the feelings associated with them. Psychologists have long encouraged patients to journal as a way of dealing with the experiences in their lives, both pleasant and unpleasant. According to the LDS Twelve Step Addiction Recovery Program (pg.3), writing about one’s past brings issues into the open and allows them to be dealt with in a constructive manner. Writing about the present enables interpretation of experiences in light of current philosophy and beliefs.
Using a Journaling Chart
Jennifer called and left me a message. She said that she didn't want me to come to the party.
Jennifer doesn't like me. She doesn't want me to come.
I'm angry and frustrated.
Write her a nasty e-mail.
Jennifer wrote me back, telling me that she was concerned about how I would feel with Brock there. She knew he would come because he was related to the girl having the party. She didn't want me to confront him, since we broke up just last week.
Oh, it isn't that she doesn't like me. She is concerned about my feelings and wants me to be comfortable at the party. She knew it would be hard for me.
I'm surprised and unsure of what to do.
Apologize to her. Thank her for being concerned about my feelings.
Talked to Jennifer after the party. She said that Brock had been hanging out with another girl and that I would have been really uncomfortable seeing him with her.
My feelings for Brock are still too strong for me to deal with that kind of situation.
I'm glad that I wasn't at the party.
Ask Jennifer if we could get together some time and just hang out.
Hung out with Jennifer and had a blast!
I like Jennifer. She is cool. We enjoy being together.
I'm happy that we are still friends.
Spend time together again in the future.
Positive message I found:
Where I found it:
How it helped me feel good about myself:
What I want to remember for the future:
My feelings about myself after this experience:
Journaling on the Computer
The computer has revolutionized the concept of journaling. On the computer, a person can simply type, or be creative through the use of fonts, clip art, pictures, and activities. Journaling can include charts, graphs, tables, music, or multi-media presentations. It can be done via e-mail or even on video or audio recordings. The computer enables files to be digitized, stylized, and synthesized. The key to effective journaling is the identification of the issue at hand, how it is affecting you, and exploring options in resolving it.
Thought Process Journal
Negative emotion experienced:
Circumstances surrounding the negative emotion:
Negative thought patterns that lead to the negative emotion:
Tools used to change the negative emotion:
What happened as a result of my actions:
What I want to remember for the future:
Journaling will help you to help yourself and others
Write about your past, your future, and your daily activities and experiences. Keep these things in a private place where others do not see them. Right now they are for you alone. As you grow in your confidence and strength, you will feel more able to share them with others.
Use The Stop Look and Listen Emotional Survival Kit to assist in your self-improvement process. Write about your experiences and the learning process will be accelerated. You will be able to look back at the things you have learned and remember them for the future. You will become more effective as you gain experience, and will be in a position to help others around you.
I am really angry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What seems to be the problem?
I can't believe what is happening!
You are having a tough time right now.
I feel so stupid! I just can't seem to do anything right!
You are feeling frustrated with yourself.
Today at work, I kept making mistakes!
You had a tough day at work.
Yes, it seemed like every time I turned around, I was doing something wrong!
You were frequently corrected because of something you did.
I just wanted to scream and kick someone!
You felt angry with yourself.
I had to do so many things over!
Wow. That must have been a bummer.
I just need to relax and unwind.
Sounds like a great idea.
Other Hubs on Changing Your Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions
- Stop Negative Emotions Before You Express Them in Ways that Hurt Yourself and Others
It is possible to stop negative emotions before they are expressed in ways that hurt ourselves and others. The key is to recognize the emotion that is developing, and then to change the thoughts that are leading to its resolution.
- The Power of Personal Change
Change can happen. It isn't automatic, though. First we have to recognize the need for it, then resolve that we want it. The opportunity to change occurs in a split second before the automatic reaction.
- Totally Change Distorted Thinking Patterns
Thoughts and actions are integrally connected. One leads to the other and vice versa. If thought patterns are irrational, then inappropriate actions will follow. Identification of these thought patterns enables them to be changed.