by Chaundra McGill
When I was kid, I sporadically wrote in my diary. I wrote about my current crush or the latest drama at school. I think I wrote about two weeks worth of entries in my whole seventh grade year.
Fast forward 18 years, I carry my journal everywhere I go. My journal is a part of my mental checklist before I leave the house: car keys, cell phone, iPod, and journal. My journal is my lifeline.
But how can a blank book be this important to anyone? The fact that the book is blank has limitless possibilities. Rather than just a recording of daily minutia, my journal allows me to vent my frustration, express my emotions freely, reflect on my past, meditate on my present, and prepare for my future with new insight.
My journal helped me properly grieve my uncle’s murder, recognize destructive behavioral patterns, and just plain make sense of my life.
My renewed sense of possibility and perspective stopped making journaling seem like a chore. Journaling became a privilege because this was time exclusively for me. But you may be wondering how my perspective of journal writing shifted, and more importantly how can it shift for you.
The answer: Reflective Writing Therapy. Reflective Writing Therapy combines the descriptive qualities of reflective writing and the therapeutic qualities of writing therapy. By answering four painfully simple questions, Reflective Writing Therapy can aide self-discovery, emotional well-being, self-expression and inspiration.
This is the descriptive and emotional level of Reflective Writing Therapy. Before you can begin Reflective Writing Therapy, you have to know upon what you are reflecting. At this stage, you simply capture the details of the event, the people involved, your feelings about the situation, and so forth.
This is the outlook and evaluation level of Reflective Writing Therapy. After you have described the situation, you can begin digging a little deeper by looking at the good, bad and the ugly. Determining the positive and negative consequences, what this situation tells you or teaches you, and so forth.
This is the analysis and relevance level of Reflective Writing Therapy. There is a reason that you have decided to evaluate a certain event or incident now, so this stage is where you figure out why. This is also the stage where you began to consider other perspectives and other sources of knowledge that can influence how you view the situation.
This is the conclusion and planning level of Reflective Writing Therapy. The final step is the whole point of reflection: to obtain clarity and a plan of action. At this stage, you can determine how this situation or outlook of this situation will affect your future, what you need to do, and what steps are you going to take based on what you’ve learned.
For more information on Reflective Writing Therapy, download the free e-book, $1 Therapy.
Do you keep a journal? How has journaling helped you?
Chaundra McGill – Thank you for submitting this article.