Tips for Journaling

  • Use any medium you'd like; a notebook, a canvas; a diary, a scrapbook, etc.
  • Write, draw, color, paint, sketch, cut & paste - use anything that will bring out your creativity. Poetry is wonderful.
  • Keep your journal in a safe place - for your eyes only.
  • Write anything and everything you are thinking, feeling, dreaming, aspiring.
  • Never worry about sentence structure, spelling, grammar, etc.
  • Use your journal in good times and in bad times.
  • If you have difficulty sleeping, use your journal before bedtime to cleanse your mind from day residue.
  • Use your journal in the morning to jump start your day.
  • Remember, your journal will never judge you, so be honest.
  •  There is no such thing as a quick fix. Journaling has a cumulative effect. Use it regularly. It will take time to recognize the effects of journaling.

Top Benefits of Journaling

  1. Journaling allows you to identify your feelings.
  2. Journaling makes you aware of your feelings.
    • Identifying a feeling puts a label on it - recognizing that an emotion actually exists.
    • Awareness of an emotion means knowing exactly what the feeling is and how it makes you feel. Awareness takes identification of emotions and makes it personal.
  3. Journaling helps you to clarify your feelings.
  4. Journaling helps you to gain insight into your patterns of self-destructive thoughts and behaviors and how they are related to your emotions.
  5. Journaling is a useful barrier against self-destructive behaviors.
  6. Journaling allows provides freedom to express yourself
  7. Journaling prevents potential judgment and ridicule by others.
  8. Journaling allows you to feel it so you can heal it!
  9. Journaling rids you of "day residue" and prepares you for the future.
  10. Journaling allows you to be honest!! This is a BIG ONE! So many times we attempt to hide behind a façade - worried that others will be critical of us if they 'see the real us'.  Or maybe we are worried we will become too vulnerable. A journal will allow us to be vulnerable without consequences!
  11. Heck, it's cheaper than seeing a therapist every time you have a strong feeling that's difficult to manage!!! So, write away!!!!

Reflecting back on your journal during an extremely emotional moment/day will inspire you to forge ahead! It will serve as your catalyst to get you through even the most challenging of all moments - those times that seem nearly impossible to overcome! Just open your journal to any page and you will be able to recall how you were able to overcome those old obstacles from the past!!!!

Journaling is the best therapy by far!


I'm a journalist by career and a journalist at heart. I live and breathe thoughts and the right words to express them. Even if you strip away the interviews and phone calls along with the education that brought me into this profession, I would still be ... a journalist.

No one had to introduce journal-writing to me. It came naturally.  From those early years, I had an obsession with paper and pencils (now pens or computer keyboards). Perhaps it had something to do with living in a house with five sisters and never being heard among the chaos. My journal was a safe-haven. A place where even when no one heard me ... the pages would "listen."

As a sufferer of an eating disorder and a patient of Susie's, I have realized that journaling is not only something I personally feel I have to do, it's something that is necessary to bring me to and through recovery. Why? Because in between the two black covers of my 
journal, will be the thoughts, fears, reasons, issues, frustrations, downfalls and accomplishments that can be expressed from my head, down my arm, and out the end of the pen when "talking it out" seems harder than ever.

Not only does journaling release all the things inside of us that would not otherwise be release, it also offers insight into our own minds, bodies, and spirits. We can read the words either to ourselves or to Susie and draw life-lessons from the "stuff" that was inside of 
us all along. Of course, sharing our journals with Susie also allows her to listen to and pick up on any issues or patterns we ourselves may not be aware of.

Some are scared to journal and understandably so ... we never know what will come out or where those words may come from and it can be a scary, scary thing. But I've learned it is better to "get it out" rather than bottle it up because what happens when you fill up a 
water bottle? It eventually reaches it's limit and begins to overflow.

Don't be scared, ashamed, or worried about what you might write. Journals are a sanctuary for the mind. They offer never-ending support regardless of life situations and no matter where you are in your life ... all it takes is a writing utensil and  something as 
small as a gum wrapper (which if you're like me is already sitting inside your cup-holder in the car) to offer some release.


The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I have always kept a diary ever since I was very young. It was not anything substantial, mostly just a record of what boy I liked at the time or what my friends and I were up to. When I was in high school, I did not journal as much, but would sometimes look back at the diaries that I had kept when I was 10 and 11 years old and laugh and reminisce about what it was like to be so young and boy-crazy and be baffled at how bad my spelling and handwriting were. I did not have a real reason to delve so deeply into my thoughts and feelings until I was diagnosed with my ED.

I was so lost and so confused in my feelings that I had a hard time sorting them out. I was not very good at expressing my feelings aloud, so by journaling, I had an outlet where I could let those emotions out and really reflect and deal with them. Though journaling, I could see that there was much more going on than just my ED. By getting my thoughts out of my head and putting them down in writing, I could now gain insights otherwise I would have never faced. I had many fears, insecurities and issues in my life that I had not taken the time out to deal with and now I was forced to face them, and I wanted to.

I have always felt like my ED was a "blessing in disguise." It has allowed me to start fixing a lot of the problems I have with myself and the world around me. While writing my feelings and thoughts out at the very moment I was having them was therapeutic, it was in reading my own words, the part of reassuring myself that I can make it though anything, that I now can fight through other dark and difficult times in my life. I am still in the early stages of fighting my ED, and some days are better than others, but going back and reading the journal entries from those early dark days of my fight help me through the tough times I am experiencing now. It lets me know that if I can make it though the first few hurdles in my recovery, that I can make it over the ones that I am currently faced with and the ones that are still ahead of me.

Journaling has given me back the hope and faith that I can make it though not only ED, but all that life throws my way. It gave me a mirror with which to see the reality and potential in me to fight though anything and come out the other side better for it. Journaling provides hope, discovery, and faith for anyone who takes the time out to first journal and then go back and use those past entries as tools to learn from.  Not only does journaling help me through rough times by thinking about how I made it through a similar situation, but I can go back and read an entry from when I was having a good day and I can notice and appreciate all that I have to live for and how much good I have going for me and my life. Journaling is a record of our own life's lessons and is an excellent method of self teaching. It provides a journey of self discovery, so that when we are lost, we can find ourselves again and get on the right path or give ourselves the boost to keep going. Journaling is a gift that keeps on giving. 

Sarah Hejma





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