I use my journal in several different ways. Sometimes I use it to capture notes on stories or blog posts I’d like to write. When I’m overwhelmed my journal becomes a dumping ground for three pages of word vomit. But I don’t always have the time or energy to write out my feelings on every little worry that runs through my head.
So I create ‘Worry Lists’.
When I feel something spinning out of control I just jot it down on that day’s Worry List. The items on my Worry Lists aren’t lengthy. Some are as short as one word. It is the act of writing my worry down, of naming the thing, that gives me power over it and makes it seem more manageable.
Once I’ve written something on my Worry List I set a time to worry about the problem. My time is four o’clock in the afternoon. I grant myself ten or fifteen or thirty minutes to worry about the problem.
At first that practice seemed silly. Why set time aside to experience an emotion when I could just worry about the problem all day?
But worry is very rarely a productive emotion. Also, I’ve found the items on my Worry List either resolve themselves by the end of the day or I’ve found a way to move forward with the problem.
Worry Lists also serve another purpose. At the end of the week I can look back and easily see my biggest stress factors. These lists help me identify if there’s a larger problem. Sometimes I can take steps to resolve the problem. Sometimes the problem just needs time to resolve itself. Either way, my knowledge of the problem gives me some control over it.
This is just one of the ways I use my journal. Journaling doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. Journaling can be whatever you want it to be.
How do you use your journal? I love comments!