Journal Writing
Kristin Donovan : Journaling through Change

Better Living Through Journaling

Journaling through Change

In times of uncertainty journaling anchors us and makes us resilient.

By Kristin Donovan | Updated 7/30/15

Humans are creatures of habit. We go about our daily lives, confident tomorrow will be just like today. So when change hits, as it inevitably does, we feel lost and unsure.

Change throws us off our game. It yanks the familiar ground out from beneath us. When we don't know which end us up, we seek the comfort of the familiar. Of ritual, stability, constancy.

Amid this struggling economy, many of us face uncertainty. We may be dealing with job loss or home relocation; both of these changes top the stress charts. Even a welcomed change of scenery or a positive career switch can be disorienting.

In times of change, journaling makes us resilient. It helps us find steadier footing so we can roll with the punches. When the world around us is uncertain, our journal provides a home base, a constant, and an undeniable sense of stability. Here's how.

Journaling provides a sense of continuity

When you journal regularly, the act itself becomes a ritual, a routine. Journaling through good times and bad keeps you centered when change hits because the habit is there to support you.

Even when your life is turned upside down and you're not sure where to begin, your journal is there every day for you. Even as the walls are crumbling around you, you can sit for half an hour and be guaranteed this continual appearance of blank pages to fill. There is comfort in this constant.

Journaling creates a home base

Your physical journal can create a sense of home and comfort. It is familiar, and the more often you write in it, the more a part of you it becomes. Filling your journal with pieces of daily living will affirm its status a rock solid part of your life.

When nothing around you is familiar, your journal provides a space to feel at home.

Journaling keeps us present

Journal writing pulls us into the present tense, where we fully inhabit the moment. In this state, we deal with change best. We are not obsessing about future fears yet to happen. We do not need to relive past mistakes. On the page, we can choose to dwell fully in the now.

The now is where we do our best work. We make the best decisions, we feel the most secure. As Julia Cameron wrote, "In the exact now, we are all, always, all right."

Journaling proves you're a survivor

Once you've journaled your way through one big change, you've got written proof that you can make it through your current situation. Even when you feel uncertain about your own abilities to cope, you can see your previous entries and recognize your resiliency.

If this is your first go at journaling through change, knowing you're leaving a path to follow for your future self is one way to find stability on the page. You're leaving a breadcrumb trail for yourself to follow at another point in time. This can be both comforting and motivating.

Journaling provides an outlet

Venting in your journal reduces your stress level so you can return level-headed to the situation at hand. Perhaps even your exciting new change is keeping you from thinking straight. A full-on gushing session will take a load off and allow you to return to earth to handle logistics.

Sometimes the physical stress of change, the worrying or excitement, takes its toll on us more than the actual change itself. Purging this mental energy onto the page frees up valuable real estate you can then use to handle the details of life.

Whether the change you're facing is positive or negative, internal or external, journaling will help you through it by providing solid ground, continuity, and proof that you're a survivor. •

Next: Regular Journaling Provides Endless Benefits

© 2010 by Kristin Donovan. All rights reserved.

Kristin DonovanKristin Donovan has been journaling for more than two decades. She facilitates creativity groups for women and leads journal writing workshops in the Pacific Northwest and online. More »
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