As an empath, you’ll be familiar with feeling overwhelmed.
Journaling is a powerful tool that you can use to help navigate strong feelings and emotional overload.
When you get into a habit of writing about your struggles and your successes, you’ll begin to see enhanced self-awareness as you learn more about yourself and identify your specific triggers.
Becoming aware of your triggers is an important skill for an empath because it’ll let you recognise them in daily life and allow you to plan for how to deal with them.
Just writing down your thoughts can positively impact your anxiety and lessen it overall. Journaling is calming and lets you clear your mind.
It helps you release pent-up emotion and everyday stress. Through your journaling practice you can let go of negative thoughts on paper rather than allow them to poison your day or your relationships.
It also allows you to explore your experience with anxiety in a safe space.
What do you need to start journaling?
You need somewhere to write. A notebook, a digital document, loose pages, whatever suits you best.
And most importantly: you.
Journaling is the process of your personal, rational fact-based reporting combined with an exploration of your sometimes irrational, but always important, inner thoughts and feelings.
Journaling is a form of expressive writing that allows you to express yourself freely and in a safe way.
And it isn’t just the processing of thought that is important – because this you could do by simply thinking about it instead – it’s the act of writing itself that brings out the massive benefits of journaling.
By writing you occupy the analytical and rational part of yourself, and allow the creative, intuitive side of yourself freely do what it does best: feel.
In this way, journaling is a tool by which you remove mental blocks and free up more brainpower for thinking.
This in turn helps you to better understand yourself, the world around you and how you relate to the world you live in.
So, grab a notebook, a cup of tea (or a whiskey?), and let it all out.
Some helpful tips for starting a journaling practice:
- Don’t be shy to use a pen and paper. Writing by hand forces your brain to give more focus to the information you’re working on and thus gives you access to even deeper recesses of your brain.
- Try writing in cursive. If it’s been a while since you’ve written with a pen, it might take a while to get used to writing in cursive. Once your hand gets practiced at it though, it’ll be as effortless as typing – plus more beneficial!
- Use a time limit if it feels daunting to start. Keep it short and sweet and don’t try to do to much at once. Begin with just 10 minutes of writing. Having that time limit will make it easier to do it because it has a finite limit.
- Don’t worry about how good your writing is. What you write is for your eyes only, so don’t worry about whether it’s good or not. The point is to unload it from your mind so that it can focus on other things.
- Don’t edit. As you write, ignore grammar rules. Worrying about correctness will only prevent you from accessing that flow that’s so powerful. And once you get into the flow, don’t stop to edit or you’ll fall out of the flow of consciousness, which is the only way to access the hidden and unconscious recesses of your mind.
- Keep it private and secure. Your journal is for you only. And it’s up to you if you ever want to share some parts of it. The only way you’ll be able to completely let go is if you know that the things you put down are for you only.
My 14 go-to prompts for managing emotional overwhelm:
- Where do I feel this in my body?
- What emotion is this? How am I holding on to it in my body?
- What is causing this feeling? / Why do I feel this way?
- Where/when did this feeling start?
- How can I detach from this emotion?
- Did I employ healthy boundaries before I started feeling this way?
- When I look in the mirror, what do I see?
- What are the things in my home/life that feel the most “me”?
- What happened before I felt this shift in my mood?
- How can I detach my emotions from the behaviour of other people?
- What happened before I felt a shift in my mood?
- I’m worried about these things (make a list, start with the items that you know are 100% true and not solely a feeling).
- What’s one thing I can do right now to make myself feel better?
- I am grateful for these 10 things (make a list).
As a bonus prompt I’ll sometimes end my journaling by writing down an inspirational quote that I can use as an affirmation to help me move forward from the emotionally chaotic way I was feeling.