Journaling Your Feelings (Sounds Stupid But Is Actually Sweet)

A week of ideas to help you figure out what the heck you’re feeling. Okay, so you know you’re supposed to “get in touch” with your feelings. But what are you even feeling? How can you figure out what your emotions are, especially when you’re going through some tough stuff? One way is to write it down. Journaling is more than a diary – it can help you figure stuff out. But how do you even start? Here are ideas for seven days to get you going with journaling about your feelings as a way to better understand who you are and where you are, right now.

Day 1

The first step is to notice your experiences. Duh, right? Actually, it can be more difficult than it sounds! If you’re like most of us, it can feel like experiences are things that just happen to you out of the blue, then you move on. Today, list five things you notice. Just little things, like that missing petal on the flower in the windowsill vase above your kitchen sink. The more specific, the better!

Day 2

Explore the things you wrote down yesterday. What, if any, emotions go with these observations? For example, you might write, “The missing flower petal makes me sad to think about how things change.” If you’re struggling to come up with emotions, try drawing yesterday’s observations. Does the way you draw your observations imply emotions?

Day 3

Now look inside yourself to find stuff to write about. Write down five short memories from the past six-or-so months. Again, they don’t have to be big deals — just write about the first memories that come to mind. With each memory, try to list a little detail that maybe only you noticed. For now, try to just list these memories without thinking about what they might mean.

Day 4

Now it’s time to explore how you feel about the memories you listed yesterday! Why do you think you chose these particular memories to write about? Do they seem to have a common theme or common emotional thread? Why do think these memories are important to you?

Day 5

How are you feeling RIGHT NOW? Not how you feel in general, or how you felt when you woke up this morning, or how you felt 15 minutes ago, but how you feel right now in this moment! Remember that emotions can change quickly. What do you think is creating this emotion?

Day 6

Now zoom out to reflect on how you have been feeling overall, lately. Let this journal entry be a little longer. Also explore why you’ve been feeling these ways. What events or experiences do you think create these emotions?

Day 7

What can you DO about your feelings? If you generally listed positive emotions, explore what kinds of things make you feel this way — do you positive emotions mostly come from family, or activities, or service, or achievements? Try to learn from these positive emotions what makes you feel good. If your emotions were generally negative, maybe there’s something to learn there, too? Rather than searching for ways to squish or avoid negative emotions, list ways that you could find support in expressing them — and know that journaling has been a good first step!