When I was young, I used to struggle to piece my emotions together. Even now, at times I find it difficult to lay out my thoughts and work through them. Over time I became overwhelmed and developed emotional maturity through journalling. I believe journaling is a powerful tool to break down the complexities of life and help us process our inner thoughts.
In times of crisis, especially now with COVID-19, locust plagues and environmental extremities - we are currently in a national crisis. Our families and dying, friends are distant, financial burdens are ever-increasing, it can become difficult to manage the mental pressures of life.
Here is how I journal in the midst of personal and national crisis.
1. Find a place to write.
Finding somewhere peaceful is important as you need somewhere to clear your mind. Of course this can be difficult with kids, a job and extra curricular responsibilities. But if you can, set some time aside in your day where silence is the tune of the air. Allow yourself to be able to hear yourself. Sometimes it's difficult to write, the words just do not have enough space to breathe. I encourage you to draw away from the crowds and write in your own space.
I tend to write in any place that I feel comfortable and can think clearly. This could be in my cosy bed, my rugged living room couch, the park bench or the lake near my house. Anywhere that is comfortable is a good place to write.
2. Stages of writing a journal entry in a time of crisis:
Write the date and time.
Once you've found your place to write, open your journal and write the date and (if you want) time. Essentially, this just helps you to track your progress whenever you decide to look back on your work.
Put your mood on a scale.
Once you've written down the date and time, put your mood on a scale and explain why you feel the way you do. This can be as detailed or as brief as possible. But be honest and clear.
Consider different perspectives.
Sometimes in life, whether it be a situation of terminal illness, sexual assault or even depression, looking at things from another perspective can be helpful. This perspective could be from a better version of you, it could be from the perspective of another person involved, or from Gods perspective. We can always learn a lot when we look outside of ourselves and consider a new perspective.
Write down all the positives.
In every situation, I like to ensure that I've written down all the positives. This can simply be a list or a paragraph or two. Either way, meditating on the positives will help your mind to become a lot less cluttered and more mindful of what you can learn from the situation.
Meditate on how this situation could improve.
Before my conclusion, I generally like to write some small steps I could tape to see the light at the end of the tunnel. A couple of years ago, I was journaling about the stress of paying my University rent. I wrote down a few options at the time and some potential solutions. A couple of weeks later, I was able to pay my rent by working down my list of solutions. It can be difficult to see the options in the middle of a crisis, but journaling can help us to navigate through a situation clearly and effectively.
Once you've reached the end of your journal article, try to conclude on a positive note. Reflect on everything you've written and meditate on it.
Ultimately, writing in the midst of crisis can help you to navigate through your feelings, and help you find peace within yourself. Tough times are tough and sometimes we just need a space, a pen and time find the right solutions.