This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Journal for Success

journal writingI’m sure you are aware of the power of your emotions. Your emotions (and thoughts) can put you in a good mood or a bad mood, depending on which emotion you’re experiencing. You probably also understand how sometimes they can seem out of control and unmanageable. If you’d like to achieve emotional balance, greater control over your emotions and better health, the following information about journal writing will prove invaluable.

There are certain skills to managing your emotions through journal writing. These include:

Definition: defining the emotion in your own terms and from your own understanding.

Distance: it is important to gain some distance from your emotions. This will help you gain clearer understanding of your feelings and how they are impacting you. When you are in the middle of the situation dealing with the emotions in the here and now everything will seem muddled and you will struggle to see what is happening as well as the bigger picture.

Release: by understanding and recognising the emotion as well as achieving distance you will be able to begin releasing the negativity surrounding it.

Focus: through focus on the emotions and the attendant triggers, feelings and behaviors you can gain clarity and create change.

Regrouping: by following through the previous skills you will be able to regroup your thoughts, feelings and attitudes. Creating a new set of behaviors when dealing with difficult situations will help you to cope will help you to cope in the future.

Maintenance: like all habits practice makes perfect and you will need to constantly remind yourself of the positive changes you have made with regard to your emotions and their impact on your life. What will you do to remind yourself how to remain positive, calm and balanced?

Journal writing can help you to achieve emotional balance as it will take you through all the skills above.

How does writing in a journal help?

If you are suffering from an emotion such as sorrow then everything you think, feel and do will be tainted by it. It will have a negative effect on you and your actions. No one wants to live in sorrow for long. You can feel sorrow for a number of reasons, the loss of a friend or loved one. This loss could be the result of a friendship ending or the death of someone. My mom passed away unexpectedly a year and a half ago. It still makes me sad. I still take it to my journal. I also try to remind myself of the good times and how she would want me to keep moving forward and not get bogged down in grief and sorrow.

By taking a piece of paper and a pen you can write yourself into a more emotionally balanced state.

Start by writing a really happy memory of a time when you were not experiencing any sorrow or any other negative emotions. Make your writing really descriptive so that you can see the scene clearly, make it colorful, add sounds, smells and things you can touch as well as taste. Write down how you felt and why you felt so positive and happy. Try and include the following:


  • When?
  • Where?
  • What?
  • Who?
  • How?
  • Why?

This positive memory will become an anchor. You can display it somewhere prominent or keep it safely hidden for use when needed. It is designed for use when you are feeling anxious, stressed, sorrowful, angry or any other negative emotion. If you have a bad day you can refer to it and be reminded of a happier positive time.

Next, follow each step from defining the negative emotion you are feeling to maintenance. Again include the when, where, what, who, how and why as this will really help you understand the emotion as well as any triggers and resulting behaviours.

By writing your thoughts and feelings at each stage, as well as identifying the triggers, you can not only understand the emotion better but yourself and your reaction to it. By having this written insight into yourself you are learning how to take control of your emotions and achieve balance. You will be able to refer to it to remind yourself how to cope with difficult situations or simply how much you’ve achieved and grown.

Has there been a time you’ve used your journal to write through your emotions or to change your emotions? Share your experience in the comments below.


All the best,

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Patti - 63 posts

I’m an Imperfect Christian, Musician’s Wife, Mom, Nana, Friend and Encourager. I work on this site for my own growth and benefit, probably more so than I do for others, but I pray that what I’m learning and sharing will help others in their personal development and journaling adventures.

Emotional Healing, Journaling ,

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