Journaling: How to Avoid Harmful Journaling Habits (and What to do Instead) (E26BT, Part 2)

A Three-Part Series on the Power of Journaling


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by Amber Beam in Personal Development, Podcast
July 5, 2016

Welcome back to the second of a three-part series on Journaling – and why you should start doing it today! If you missed the first part of this Episode 26 Bonus Track, click here to learn all about the benefits of journaling. In this mini-episode, I introduce you to the risks of journaling – and what not to do as you begin your journaling habit.

In Addition to the Health and Wellness Benefits of Journaling…

Research shows that journaling helps if it leads to greater understanding and behavior change in your interactions with others.

Journaling can:

– Make you step back and evaluate your thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
– Explore different solutions to a problem.
– Bring your emotions and motivations into alignment with your deepest values.
– Convert negative energy into positive creativity and growth.
– Lower your emotional reactivity to others.
– Increase your tolerance of ambiguity, ambivalence, and unpredictability.
– Help you see other people’s perspectives alongside your own
– Help you take a definite course of action.

All of that sounds great, right? Unfortunately, like most things, there’s a dark side to journaling that we have to be aware of.

When Journaling Can Be Un-Helpful

There are five major times that journaling can actually cause more stress than it relieves. Let’s look closely at each one:

1. When Journaling Makes You Live Too Much in Your Head
We talked about this a little bit in Part I of the mini-series: journaling can help you increase your mindfulness – and that’s a good thing! Unfortunately this may result in you being too much “inside your own head,” and you’ll end up ruminating about things (aka going through the same thoughts over and over to no benefit) instead of feeling better.

2. When Journaling Makes You a Passive Observer of Your Life
Journaling is a great tool, but what happens if you end up going through your day thinking about how you’ll write about each event in your journal later in the day – that’s not really living, is it? Another good example: Adele had a disagreement with someone in the audience at one of her recent shows; Adele stopped the concert to tell the lady to stop recording the show and enjoy it live because Adele was right in front of her and she was missing out on the experience!

3. When Journaling Makes You Self-Obsessed
Sometimes, journaling can cause you to become so focused on yourself that you lose sight of the bigger picture and your role in it. If journaling has you so focused on what is going on in your life, what is happening to you, and how you feel – but you’re not considering how your feelings, thoughts, and actions play a role in the lives of others, it may not be helping you.

4. When Journaling Becomes a Vehicle for Blame Instead of Solutions
As you can tell, I’m an advocate for journaling, but only when it helps you solve problems you couldn’t otherwise solve. Journaling just to take your negative emotions and anger and blame and put them on the page isn’t going to help you feel better – again, you may end up ruminating rather than experiencing any personal growth through journaling!

5. When Journaling Enables You to Wallow in Negative Things that Have Happened to You
Journaling is supposed to be a productive task; if you find that you end up re-hashing the same things over and over in your journal, journaling likely isn’t going to be the right habit to help you deal with those feelings or situations.

All that said, journaling can still be really beneficial! In Part III of this mini-series, we’ll go through some of the tools that can help make sure you succeed with journaling. Stay tuned for that in the next few days.

Ready to start journaling?

To help get you started journaling right now, I’ve designed the Happier Every Day journal. Click below to download and print a 30-day template – for free!

Here you’ll list daily gratitudes, set intention, and tune in mindfully to your present state and emotions. What are you waiting for? You can start enjoying the benefits of journaling today. Stay tuned for Part III of this bonus track coming later this week!

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It's Time for a Better Career Change!

Don't Put Your Happiness on Hold!

Start Now!