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10 Journaling Prompts for your Mental Health
by Psychology Today | Port St. Lucia Hospital, Inc | Florida
March 2022 Blog | www.traumatalkblog.com
Open Doorways into Understanding and Healing Trauma
Diana's Message
The Profound Benefits of Journaling

Dear loyal blog readers,
Thank you for all your topic suggestions and wonderful comments last month!
Jan and I are deeply touched by how our blog and the information and tools we share are helping so many of our readers.

We hope you will find this month’s blog practical and useful. It focuses on the benefits of journaling.
According to Christopher Bergland, founder of The Athlete's Way.
Narrative Expressive Journaling can help to stimulate your vagus nerve—which can reduce stress, anxiety, anger, and inflammation by activating the "relaxation response" of your parasympathetic nervous system.
I have been journaling on and off for years. But during the COVID pandemic, I have found myself journaling daily and I have been amazed by what an important part
of my life it has become. 

I find that journaling is different than just writing what happened during the day, or at work, or at home, etc.  

Journaling is about something deeper.

It's called Narrative Expression: how you feel about things that are happening in your life - or felt about incidents in your past.
Stuff happens every day that affects us on a deep level. Sometimes they’re things we can't reconcile or feel at peace with, or that make us angry – or bring us to tears.

Journaling is a powerful and immediate tool to release our feelings onto a piece of paper, or in my case, the computer.

This type of expression can help us take our private and personal feelings out of our minds and out of our bodies and put them on paper.

This can be an effective tool in understanding how you really feel and why. You might be mad at someone.

But once you start writing, you may discover you have very different feelings beneath your anger; you may find, for instance, you're actually hurt by what someone said or did. 

The previously "mad" feeling begins to subside, as you remember what really happened and bring your attention to how you really felt. Anger may be replaced by a sense of knowing yourself better.

What a comfort is this journal
I tell myself to myself and throw the burden on my book and feel relieved.” Anne Lister

This type of expression can help us to put our private and personal feeling on paper - out of our bodies and our minds.
I am currently writing my memoir about the consequences of trauma and how they can force us to interpret our lives through unhealthy lenses.

The theme of my book is understanding how easily we put up our human coverings, create facades, display happy faces and elaborate veneers, hoping that all these theatrics will protect us, protect our families, and somehow make our pain and inner turmoil magically disappear. 

Mine is a story of how by understanding these mechanics we can re-write trauma's silent narrative and heal and live rich and meaningful lives. How we can become our authentic selves and be the director and hero of our own story.

As Always, thanks for reading!
Diana and Jan
March Blog images: Courtesy of Pexels

Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and
listening at the same time.
~ Mina Murray
One effective way to promote emotional well being is to express what’s going on in our interior lives.

Such expression helps with day-to-day frustrations as well as more emotionally intense periods in our lives. The fundamental therapeutic value of self-expression shows itself when we socialize with friends or talk to a psychotherapist or get together with family – and when we express to ourselves in a journal. Indeed, journaling is one of the most direct and helpful activities for maintaining our mental health.

We cannot go to therapy all hours of the day, any day of the week – we don’t have the time or the resources. Friends are helpful, but friends want to discuss a variety of topics in addition to what’s troubling us. Writing in a journal, on the other hand, is always available to us.
Getting Started with
Guided Journaling Prompts:

  • These 5 words describe me…

  • This is how I know I'm stressed...

  • Lately, my mind is curious about...

  • What I wish others knew about me…

  • If my tears could talk, they would say…
  • This is a list of what behaviors are okay...

  • This is a list of what behaviors are not okay...

  • One thing I learned about myself this week was...

  • When I'm feeling emotionally overwhelmed, I can...

  • Words which align with my values are...
Journaling is a powerful tool. It's a form of self-expression that can bring words, insight, and understanding to complex feelings and patterns of thinking. It also encourages us to slow down and focus.

Most importantly, expressive writing is about being in a relationship with your mind. It can be tempting to believe your thoughts and feelings own you, or you have little agency over the contents of your mind.

The truth is you create your thoughts and only you can uncreate them.

Journaling Tips

  • Choose a private space free of distractions.

  • Write about what feels right for you, which could vary daily.

  • Write at least once per day, or when you're feeling creative or stuck.

  • Set an intention: Will this entry be free-flowing (brain dump) or specific to a situation or mood?

  • Pay attention to the transition from writing to your next task—you may need time to decompress until you feel balanced.

  • Know when you're feeling emotionally heavy. You may want to write about the feelings, and not necessarily about a traumatic event.
P.S. Our blog content offers a variety of meaningful topics
and resources for you and your family.
 We are so happy to have you join us!
I am the founder of our Trauma Talk Blog Series, visual graphics, and writer.

Jan Sickler is our dedicated writer and editor.

Our blog offers current and relevant articles each month.
I also include a short personal story, and we add tools, resources for you, and more!
Together, we created our Trauma Talk Blog Series because we are parents with lived experience, that is, as parents we have seen our loved ones, our family members and our close friends, suffer from the ​anguish and havoc​ that trauma-related experiences inflict.
We are both nationally certified mental health educators and we teach a series of education programs for family members, and caregivers.

P.S. We have also facilitated the NAMI Provider Training at Des Moines University in Iowa for medical and physical therapy students.

Images from 2017 when I gave a keynote address at a mental health conference, and Jan ran the production. Beautiful Traverse City in Michigan.
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We love and appreciate all of your
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Diana and Jan