Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

Journaling Can Be So Much More Than “Dear Diary”

Most people think of journaling as writing a “Dear Diary” entry about the events of their day.


Many people wish they could journal regularly, but just can’t “get into it.” I wouldn’t get into it either if it simply meant writing about my day.


Instead, I see journaling as a space for me to contain, organize, release, dig deep, dream, and explore.


In the morning, I like to dump out all of the rattling thoughts in my mind into my journal pages.


An abstract watercolor painting with yellow, green, red, and blue. It is like a mandala, with images emanating from the center.
"Depth" Watercolor by Jackie Schuld

If I’m upset about something that happened, I like to dig into why it made me upset.


If I’m bothered by how I handled a situation, I like to brainstorm other ways I could have handled it.


If I had an amazing day, I write about all of the parts of it I want to remember.


Sometimes I fill a page with all of the things I’d like to get done that week.


Sometimes I fill a page with all of my accomplishments in the past month.


If conversations from my therapy work are lingering in my mind more, I explore why those conversations impacted me and try to get to the bottom of it so I can release it.


If I’m overwhelmed, I like to organize my “to do” lists and create action plans.


If I’m a little sad, I write about the things I’m grateful for in my life.


If I’m energized, I like to brainstorm new possibilities for my business.


If I miss my mom, I write a letter to her.


If I’m nervous about an upcoming conversation, I write about possible things I could say.


While I could think about these things instead of writing them, the brain thinks so quickly that it’s easy to end up on another topic. The act of writing slows the brain down, allowing us to slowly process, ponder, and capture.


Regardless of what I write about, the process helps me to connect with my inner self and act in alignment with my integrity and intuition.


I encourage my therapy clients to journal. I provide each client with weekly prompts for journaling and art making. The intention is for them to integrate and deepen the work we are doing in therapy.


Sometimes I ask a client to make a rage page: they fill a page with all of the things that make them angry.


If they had a lot of breakthroughs during our therapy session, I ask them to capture them in writing.


If you are new to journaling and want to get into a daily habit, it can be overwhelming at first to know what to write about. Journaling prompts can help you get your momentum flowing. For example, you could write about any of the prompts below:


  • What upset you today? Why?

  • What would you like to release from your life right now?

  • Fill the page with all of the random thoughts streaming through your mind.

  • What do you wish an average day was like for you?

  • Make a list of 20 things that bring you great joy.


With time, you’ll find you no longer need prompts. You’ll sit down and words will just flow right out.

 

I provide art therapy for individuals with overwhelming emotions and thoughts.


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