Keeping a journal sounds like the easiest thing to do, but it can also be the hardest thing to do.
A lot of my client are initially quite wary of keeping a journal and ask questions like ‘what do it write in it?’, ‘what if someone finds it?’, and ‘it’s all negative, I don’t want to write that down?’. After talking though possible solutions to these questions, my clients will give it a go and then find keeping a journal one of the most useful things they have ever done and find it aids them through their therapeutic journey.
When keeping a journal be very aware that you do not have to write in it every day, on the flip side of this you may wish to and feel the need to write in it twenty times a day! I always suggest buying a journal book that has no dates on the pages as I find that dated pages forces you to write on that day (and makes you feel guilty if you haven’t written!), but it also limits you to writing just on that page and you may have pages and pages you want to write once you get started!
I think the most scarey thing about writing is the fear about what will actually come out will be negative on that paper. However it is doing you no good staying in so at least once it is out on the paper then (ideally, together in therapy) you can start to really look at what is holding you back, causing you the upset, the anxieties and so on.
When you begin your journal writing is the time that you are then able to start freeing up your mind for the more positive things in life you may be missing out on as you are so full up of the ‘not so good’ in there. Getting out the things that don’t really need to be in there taking up so much room can be a very freeing experience.
As for ‘what do I write?’ I would suggest if you are in therapy, then begin by writing about your session – what was helpful/unhelpful, aims and goals, likes/dislikes. And if you are not engaging in therapy you can still write about the changes you want to make things that help/don’t help, people that help/don’t help. Once you start it tends to get easier and the flow of your writing will start to open up new thinking and hopefully some solutions to your difficulties.