The Rewards of Journaling


For centuries, journaling has been used as a method of recordkeeping.  From births and deaths, to business transactions, to other life events.

Recent decades have brought about a more progressive use.  Emotional purging.

Done correctly, this method can be very helpful and effective.

When I say “done correctly,” what I’m really indicating here is that you do it to full completion.

Here’s the process:

  1. Get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.
  2. Find a place where you can sit and write quietly for about ten minutes.
  3. Write down everything that’s on your mind, preferably in one continuous stream, without stopping.
  4. When your time is up, or you feel you’ve written down all your thoughts, fold your paper and prepare to destroy it.

Yes, I said destroy it.

Do this in a safe manner – whether you rip it, shred it, burn it, bury it, etc.   Be rid of the paper that now holds your thoughts, stories, and the emotions attached to them so that you, nor anyone else, can see them again.

Most of us never reach this final step.  You put your paper in a notebook for safekeeping, or turn the page in your diary and keep what you’ve written for as long as you want.

While this is fine for recordkeeping, it doesn’t always serve you well for emotional release.

Complete Journaling

Use the destruction phase of your journaling process to give yourself a definite feeling of completion. 

Compare this “completion” to your physical eliminations.  When you physically “take a dump,” you flush away all your waste.  It’s gone – forever.  And good riddance.

When you do the same with your thoughts and emotions, you essentially take a brain dump – or perhaps, a heart dump.  And when you complete the process by forever ridding yourself from these thoughts and emotions, you make room for new and better ones.

You’ve brought to full completion the time in your life associated with what you just wrote down.  It’s now in the past.  Done.

And since it is fully in your past, you don’t have to think about it anymore if you don’t want to.  Or, if you do need to think about it, having it in your past may allow you to change your story around the event.

When you look back at people and events in your past, your perception of them is usually more clear and compassionate.

You can now see your past from a more empowered vantage point.  You may also be able to use this empowerment to make better decisions in the future. *

For example, if you have a disagreement with your spouse or partner.  Writing about the situation may help you see that the difficulty arose from a lack of communication.  You can now see more clearly the actual role each of you played, and how you both contributed to the disagreement.

This newfound clarity will help you during future discussions with your significant other.

In fact, clarity can be found in many other situations you face by simply writing about them, then releasing them by destroying what you wrote.

I encourage you to take full advantage of emotional release journaling.  If you follow the steps outlined above to complete the process, you can make positive changes in your life and the way you handle various situations.

“The Good and the Bad of Journaling,” Steven Stosny, PhD, accessed March 21, 2015,