Many have spent time writing out thoughts in a journal, in order to relieve stress and have a clearer mind. However, journaling can be used in even more powerful ways to reshape ones personal narrative and overcome painful memories.
Each of us has a personal story, and when unexpected events occur they can become a hindrance in moving forward. Often times we can find ourselves reliving these difficult memories in our mind, and feel the effects of these thoughts through our mood, motivation, and overall outlook on life. Writing out our thoughts on these past or present events can certainly be helpful in taking some weight off our shoulders. By going even further one can edit and even reframe how they view their story!
A great exercise in processing past pain is writing about the memory, or event, from a different view point. Taking time to narrate your experience in third person can be helpful in understanding the events further and gaining more perspective on any lingering emotions. Reliving the event through third person can make sense of thoughts and emotions that were experienced at that time. We cannot change our past, but we can change how we view it and apply it to our present and future situations.
At times it can be difficult to focus on the painful moments, and more beneficial to look at the positive. A good way to use this effectively when journaling is by using specific writing prompts to focus as opposed to free writing. Such prompts could be; I am thankful for... The things that have shaped me are... One of the most wonderful things to happen to me was...
Journaling does not have to be a long ordeal! Just sitting and writing for as little as two minutes can be helpful. What is written can be kept private or shared with someone close. At times it can be helpful to share your story with others, for yourself and for them.
For centuries stories have been a way to find meaning in events. We are in control of parts of our narrative, and by reframing how we see our stories we can find the strength and confidence to get through our most difficult times.